Emmer from Monteleone di Spoleto
T. turgidum L. subsp. dicoccum Schubler
RISK OF EROSION: Medium
DESCRIPTION The culture of emmer in Monteleone di Spoleto has deep social and religious roots. On the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas, on December 5, a religious and secular ritual is traditionally practiced, centered on emmer. The landrace grown in the area since time immemorial has very particular characteristics, including mainly
vitreous of the seed, so that the product is easily recognizable from other varieties grown elsewhere. It does not require cold build-up to go in
earing, so it can be sown at the end of winter, a feature that allows it to adapt to mountain environments. In 2007 the Farro di Monteleone of
Spoleto has obtained the DOP certification.
BACKGROUND [Summary of the article “Il Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto: food practices, rituals and identity” by Prof. Cristina Papa, Department of Man and Territory, University of Perugia (in: Falcinelli et al., Monteleone di Spoleto and his farro)]. A search back in time, beyond the depth of the memory of informants that stops at the last century, allows us to verify that since the sixteenth century the cultivation of emmer was widely practiced in Monteleone di Spoleto, together with to that of emmer. The spread of emmer has gradually decreased in favor of other “naked” species. Despite this process, in many areas of Umbria emmer continued to be cultivated until the end of the nineteenth century, as reported in the preparatory materials of the Jacini investigation, in the territories of Perugia, Foligno, Rieti where it was found, however, an opposition to this kind of cultivation by the peasants, who considered their land to be sterile, probably because of the rotation methods used. Today the Valnerina, and in particular the territory of Monteleone di Spoleto, has remained the only area of Umbria and one of the few in Italy where the cultivation of emmer and its use for human consumption have not been interrupted over the centuries. even if they have undergone an evolution over time that brought them to historical lows in the 1970s. Eating emmer meant eating what was produced, “the one who chased the house”. You had to eat it because “there was nothing else”, but as soon as you had the opportunity, and this happened more frequently starting after World War II, you escaped from the monotony and the need for its use. The fact of eating emmer became a reason for derision, so much so that the inhabitants of Trivio, a hamlet located in the most mountainous part of the municipality, were called “eaters”. The culture of farro in Monteleone di Spoleto has deep social and religious roots, being experienced as a food symbol of community life and the sharing of resources. On the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas, on December 5, a religious and secular ritual is traditionally practiced, centered on emmer. Emmer soup is distributed to the population on the recipe and preparation of which the parish priest supervises with the help of some women. After the celebration of a religious function, the parish priest blesses the soup and distributes it to the population. Out of devotion to St. Nicholas, protector of children, they are served first, while adults receive a portion which they then consume at home. It is in the second half of the 1980s that the enhancement process begins, in a close relationship between an innovative farmer from Monteleone di Spoleto who experiments with the cleaning and crushing of emmer with machinery of his own invention, the researchers of CEDRAV and an ancient Perugian drugstore that dealt with its marketing. In 2007 the Farro di Monteleone di Spoleto obtained the DOP certification.
TYPICAL PRODUCTION AREA The diffusion area is traditionally identified in the mountainous area (at an altitude greater than or equal to 700 m asl) of the southeast area of the Province of Perugia and includes: the entire territory of the municipalities of Monteleone di Spoleto and Poggiodomo and part of the administrative territory of the municipalities of Cascia, S. Anatolia di Narco, Vallo di Nera and Scheggino, as detailed in the specification of the DOP mark. It is a plateau with long, very rigid winters with frequent frosts that last until May, alternating with very few summer weeks with high daytime temperatures. The soil is alluvial karst, on average endowed with organic matter, with a high amount of phosphorus and low availability of potassium. The perimeter of the area was identified on the basis of the peculiarities of climate and soil described above, in order to guarantee the organoleptic properties of the product.
GASTRONOMIC USE It can be eaten as a first, second, side dish, cold dish or single course, considering that it must be soaked for about 48 hours or a minimum of 12 before cooking it for about two hours. The hulled and shredded emmer, which do not need to be left to soak, cook in a shorter time, generally between 20 and 30 minutes. It is advisable to wait a while before adding the emmer to the sauce, to allow it to absorb the water and swell at the right point. Emmer from Monteleone is rich in vitamins and mineral salts, and is a fundamental ingredient for energetic and refreshing soups and soups, as well as for many typical local dishes such as brecciata, polenta alla Valnerina, the recipe of San Nicola.