The Italian Carnival celebrations start this week till March 5th, on the  famous Fat Tuesday. Which ends all the Carnival celebrations and begins the Lent period.

The origins of Carnival date back to the Roman Saturnalia festival and Dionysian feasts in Greece. A feast characterized by unrestrained enjoyment and an opportunity to upend and subvert norms.

Jokes, masks, fun and good food characterize the Carnival celebrated in Alta Valle del Sele, where our family farm is located. Through the stories of our grandparents, and parents, we realized that Carnival celebrations completely changed compared to the 40s, 50s and 60s.

They used to disguise themselves with old clothes found at home, the typical “mascarata”, a costume party. They used to visit especially their neighbours, with improvised camouflages – the masks were called “ciavon”. Who opened the door had to guess the identity of the person hidden under the mask and while singing, dancing and joking, especially with the seniors of the house. Once the identity of the “mask” was revealed, bread and sausage were offered, as well as the unfailing “Chiacchiere” fried pastries (a dough made with extra virgin olive oil).

For the Fat Tuesday they prepared a soup with pork offal, fusilli with tomato sauce  made with small pieces of pork meat – stuffed hen and Chiacchiere.

The leftovers fusilli were not eaten the day after but they let eat them to the hens because believed that they could produce more eggs.

“Chiacchiere” fried pastries recipe

Typical sweet dessert of the Alta Valle del Sele Carnival, we want to propose here our ancient recipe. This year we prepared the dough with semi-wholemeal Risciola flour from the PiantaGrani, an ancient wheat from the Alta Valle del Sele and of course our extra virgin olive oil that we use to mix the doughs.

  • 400 g of semi-wholemeal Risciola flour, or Flour 00 Type
  • 3 eggs
  • 40 g of extra virgin olive oil
  • 40 g of sugar
  • Half glass of Vermouth
  • A pinch of salt
  • Grated lemon skin
Casa Iuorio chiacchiere italian carnival

Our extra virgin olive oil used to mix the dough.

 

Casa Iuorio chiacchiere dough

The dough is ready.

 

Chiacchere

Chiacchiere.

 

Chiacchiere on the table for the tasting

Chiacchiere on the table for the tasting.

Broccoli “spiert” are the seasonal vegetables that the nature lets grow during this period. It’s a traditional broccoli ecotype that we have always cultivated in our family farm. Our grandparents, and their parents even before, cultivated them and we learned to appreciate them in traditional recipes.

The term “spiert” encloses the whole meaning of this cultivation. From the dialect of the Alta Valle del Sele it can be translated as spontaneous, wild to indicate that this broccoli is a natural fruit of our land. Probably at the beginning it was not cultivated, it grew naturally in the fields. Then someone decided to save the seeds and so began to cultivate it in a regular way.

In our farm, Casa Iuorio, we decided to safeguard this broccoli ecotype from the risk of extinction and we continue cultivating it. Also to valorise the biodiversity of our geographical area. We sow it autumn in the first days of October. The harvest, handmade, starts in January and continues until beginning of April.

Broccoli plants have a full-bodied central part, well protected by large and dark green leaves. We harvest only the inflorescence of this plant but also some of its softest leaves.

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Where broccoli “spiert” are produced

Our farm Casa Iuorio is situated in Palomonte, in the Alta Valle del Sele territory, south of the Salerno province. The valley is characterized by the river Sele, a very rich ecosystem and the Alburni Mountains, very high peaks that in this period are whitened by snow.

Our fields are located in an uncontaminated landscape. Yields are prepared in open field, in full respect of the season and the environment.

Our broccoli cultivated in open field.

Our broccoli cultivated in open field.

Casa Iuorio’s broccoli.

Casa Iuorio’s Broccoli.

Bees on our broccoli flowers.

Bees on our broccoli flowers.

Among the cultivation of our farm there are broccoli. We harvest them in these days and till the beginning of April respecting the seasonality of the raw material.

Our broccoli belongs to a traditional ecotype of the Alta Valle del Sele called in the local dialect “spiert“, that is “spontaneous“, “wild“. A term that represents very well the natural relationship of this vegetable with the land in which we continue to grow it. It’s here that we preserve the seeds and give our contribution in respecting the local biodiversity.

It is an ecotype that over time has found its ideal union with the fertile lands of the Alburni Mountains, where our fields are located. We cultivate them in open-fields, in the middle of the typical Mediterranean vegetation. After the crop, broccoli are processed by hand and placed in the jar, ready to be tasted. Let’s see how.

Preparation of broccoli in oil

Harvested and placed in large baskets, to preserve all their freshness, broccoli are transported to the laboratory, within 24 hours of collection. Here we proceed first to select the best parts and then to wash them. The next step is the blanching in water and vinegar, then the broccoli is left to drain and cool.

A box of broccoli.

A box of broccoli.

Broccoli are selected by choosing only the best parts.

Broccoli are selected by choosing only the best parts.

Washed broccoli.

Washed broccoli.

Blanched broccoli.

Blanched broccoli.

The final steps. Broccoli are placed in jars, previously sterilized, dressed with our extra virgin olive oil, garlic and hot pepper. Without the addition of dyes or preservatives. You havejust to taste and enjoy a product that has authentic and genuine scent.

Extra virgin olive oil, garlic and spicy chilli ready for seasoning.

Extra virgin olive oil, garlic and spicy chilli ready for seasoning.

The cap closes the jar and the oil is ready.

The cap closes the jar and the oil is ready.

Broccoli is placed in the jars.

Broccoli is placed in the jars.

Once opened the jar, add a little oil and keep it in the fridge.

How to use

Our broccoli in oil are suitable to enrich appetizers but also for seasoning pizza or stuffing a piadina a focaccia.You can also combine it as a side dish of meat, fish and cheese.

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