A journey through Lucanian tastes
e u tìvene ca frìjete
ce pàrlete cc’u cée,
fè nnasce tanta voce
cchiù dduce assèi d’u mée.
Let’s start this gastronomic tour with the words of poet Albino Pierro, a native of this area, among the Christmas-themed delicacies of Basilicata, discovering traditional flavours and customs handed down from generation to generation.
Gathering around the table during the festive season is the perfect opportunity to rediscover the cultural and culinary roots of our region, which was a meeting point for a variety of knowledge and civilisations that have lived here since the dawn of time, leaving an indelible mark.
There are those who decide to take a break from their city and perhaps look for a new way to experience the magic of the festive season by discovering new ways of laying out Christmas banquets: Castelsaraceno is ready to welcome you into its arms.
To begin with…
Appetising and inviting dishes follow one another, crossing over courses of land and sea. From “u tìvene ca frìjete”, that frying pan that sizzles with poetry, we see the inevitable salted pettole, pieces of leavened dough with a crunchy crust and a soft heart, one of those dishes that can please both adults and children. Frittelle di baccalà (salt cod) or peperoni cruschi (raw peppers), a true Lucanian delicacy, and finally, lampascioni, with its unique bitterish taste. In addition, there is a timeless classic made up of platters of cheese and typical cold cuts.
There is a wide and tasty choice of first courses that are the legacy of a peasant cuisine with delicious flavours, always careful to minimise waste. It is impossible not to mention the spaghetti ammuddicati with anchovies, a speciality to which stale breadcrumbs or breadcrumbs are added, giving the dish a crunchy touch.
Recommended for family lunches, excellent for special occasions, are strascinati al ragù di carne, a pasta format similar to orecchiette, but more elongated and able to accommodate the sauce and condiments better.
Continuing on this tour, we find timballo alla lucana, which started out as a poor man’s dish and is now also offered by starred chefs; it is the ideal recipe for a Sunday lunch. A constant presence is cod sauce with spaghetti, which was created as a dish for those who, for religious reasons, could not eat meat.
To conclude, warm soups with seasonal vegetables that accompany the coldest evenings of the year or the cucciva that was traditionally served during New Year’s Eve dinner, a soup made with all the produce from the garden plus boiled pork.
The place of honour among the main courses is once again taken by boiled salt cod with cruschi peppers, while for those who prefer meat, there are plenty of alternatives. Starting with lamb Lucana style, flavoured with garden vegetables, lean and genuine, it will delight all those who try it, and ending with a rustic roast pork that is extremely inviting, soft and juicy.
No typical dessert without local wine
The voices of sweetness rise up in chorus and in front of us, on this rich table, are the jewels in the crown of confectionery lovers. Authentic pearls of taste, we find pettole in the sweet version, prepared with the addition of sultanas, honey or icing sugar.
You will be able to taste vincotto biscuits, strazzate biscuits or sweet calzoni biscuits filled with chickpea or chestnut cream and enriched with candied fruit, cinnamon and liqueur, which are then fried. An incomparable spectacle and an opportunity to take home a souvenir of Castelsaraceno by looking for one of these delicacies among the Mercatini delle Meraviglie.
The Lucanian sweet par excellence, the undisputed representative of Lucanian desserts, is piccilatiedd‘, a sweet almond bread that takes at least two days to prepare. And it is on Christmas Eve that it is eaten, marking the high point of the meal. All the courses described so far will need a travelling companion to enrich and complete this abundant menu. The right name is Aglianico, the vine representing the excellence of this territory.