Friday, July 17, 2009
My new endeavor/obsession
My fiance just returned from several weeks in Italy. Among the places she visited was Sudtirol, or South Tyrol in the Alto Adige region. Now, I was aware that there are various geographical influences throughout the country. Whether it be an African influence in Sicily, or Slavic in Friulli, or Swiss in the Piedmont, etc. What I didn't know, until I researched prior to her departure, is HOW dominant the German influence is in this particular region. I know it was annexed in 1918, but still remains very German. Why is this so fascinating is I have a German name and have blonde hair and blue eyes. Yet, as I've written in the past, I spent a good deal of time in my youth with my immigrant southern Italian grandparents. I even learned to speak the language. Delving into the cuisine of the Sudtirol, I made a huge discovery. This is a cuisine of BACON! My fiance brought home a tiny little cookbook, called "Tyrolean Specialties." In it, I would say 80% of the savory recipes call for bacon, or some type of cured pork product. Amazing. Speck, speck and more speck. This picture of a mountain of speck was taken during a "speckfest." They call everything speck, I guess, and smoke everything. Speck bacon, speck ham, speck loin, and a smoked sausage called picture below). Canederli, or Tyrolean gnocchi, or bread dumplings made with stale bread. Lots of crauti(sauerkraut), the use of caraway and rye bread. I figured that this is a way for me to leave my comfort zone, while still staying inside my little box(geographically, at least). Being that resources about this region and cuisine are extremely limited, I hope that there can be some outside contributions. Also, failed to mention initially. I cured(or attempted) my first meat of this style. I cured a pork loin for lonzino. It was cured with caraway, juniper and anise seed.