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Food and wine

 

FOOD & WINE

 

PIENNOLO TOMATO DOP PRODUCT OF VESUVIO

The popular names “Fiaschella”, “Lampadina”, “Patanara”, “Principe Borghese” and “Re Umberto” define the precious oval or prune shaped fruit with a pointy tip and thick peel. When they are preserved as a bunch (or “al piennolo”) they are known as “pomodorino do’ piennolo” (do’ piennolo cherry tomato). These tasty fruits are the basis of many delicious traditional meat and seafood dishes and they can be sun-dried or preserved in oil. They are traditionally combined with bread, olive oil and salt.

 

APRICOTS FROM MOUNT VESUVIUS

Traces of their cultivation on the Vesuvian territory date back to the IV century, but it is only in 1583 when they become well known, when Giovan Battista Della Porta, Neapolitan scientist, divides them into two groups: the “bericocche” (round shaped with a white and soft pulp, stuck to the pit) and the “chiusomele” (with the pulp not so stuck to the pit, very colourful, smooth and very valuable).
With very poetic or bizzarre names, smooth or spiny Boccuccia, Vitillo or Pellecchiella, Cafona or Baracca, Prete, Monaco Bella or Palummella, they are all known in Naples as “crisommole”.
The Vesuvian area is an extraordinary location filled with high qualità typical agricultural products. The apricots are considered to be the most characteristic of all products: they ripen from the end of May up until the end of July and the many varieties differ in size, intensity, smoothness of the peel and flavour, that goes from extraordinary sweetness of the Pellecchiella – the absolute best – to the bitterness of the Vitillo.

 

BREAD OF S. SEBASTIANO

The “palatone” of San Sebastiano, genuine and high quality product, still today maintains the processing rules and ingredients used long ago. It comes in an elongated shape and is high from the base. In order to prepare it you need soft grain flour, brewer’s yeast, water, strictly the local one, and the right amount of salt. The flour is added to the brewer’s yeast which is previously dissolved in warm water and then the whole mixture, divided into half kilo or 2 kilo forms, is left to rise for a few hours and then baked in a hot wood oven. Le caratteristiche del pane di San Sebastiano sono la crosta sottile e dorata e la deliziosa mollica bianca, che si conserva fragrante per parecchi giorni. The bread is sold in the local shops and, on Sunday mornings, by street sellers.

 
 

RED WINES

 

PIEDIROSSO

Locally known as palummina or per’ e palummo. It gets its name because of the colour that the roots and small grapes get when the bunches are close to ripening. In Campania the Piedirosso comes second for fame and is widespread only at Aglianico whilst the doc labelled Vesuvio is the first and foremost wine. It absorbs splendid and incomparable expressions of acidity and mineral deposits from the volcanic land, rich in silt, phosphorus and potassium and thanks to its versatility it gives you the chance of combining it with many dishes, whether they be seafood or vegetarian ones, along with pasta dishes and all other dishes with tomatoes. Ideal with ragù (meat sauce). It has an intense ruby red colour, an average intensity fruity aroma, with frequent mineral hints of flavour, with herby, spicy and balsamic ageing.

 

AGLIANICO

The last one to ripen at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, between the second half and end of October, is the aglianico, aristocratic prince of Southern black berried vines. Used in all its pureness in the Pompeian igt, it can produce prestigious products, especially if it is carefully ripened in wood and with one or more long periods of refining in the bottle. It goes well with strong, elaborate main courses, semi-aged cheeses, game and red meat. Ideal combination: with the goatling of Sant’Anastasia. It has an intense ruby-red colour with granite-orange reflections after it has aged. The flavours remind you of its origins, with hints of ripened prunes, violets, tobacco, spices and black pepper.

 

OLIVELLA

Locally known as ulivella or livella, because it reminds you of the olive tree both for its shape and its violet colour, the Olivella is one of the oldest vines of Campagna. Sopravvissuto alla devastazione della fillossera, ha una buona resistenza alle avversità climatiche, germoglia precocemente e matura nella seconda metà di ottobre, possiede un basso tenore di zuccheri, non elevati tenori alcolici, per cui viene adoperato principalmente in uvaggio.
It has an intense ruby-red colour with a purple hint, sometimes with a red froth. Winey bouquet, fruity hints of black prunes, cherries and blueberries.

 
 

WHITE WINES

 

CODA DI VOLPE DEL VESUVIO

This variety exists only in the municipalities located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius and is the first vine, in a chronological order, to be harvested and is the prince of doc labelled Vesuvian white wines. Known as caprettone or crapettone probably because of the shape of its bunches, similar to a goat’s goatee, or to the shepherds that harvest it. It is elegant and smooth so that it can be combined to seafood salads, to octopus dishes, to the “menesta maretata” (boiled meat and vegetables), to white meats and legume soups.
Ideal with baccalà (cod fish) of Somma Vesuviana.
It usually ripens around the second fortnight of September; it has a mild straw colour and has delicate flavours of mulberry, peach and broom.

 

CATALANESCA BIANCA OR CATALANA

Always considered a table wine with probable Spanish origins. It was discovered on the Vesuvian area around 1500 or maybe ‘400. Currently diffuse only on the foot of Monte Somma, it is characterized by its very late ripening (end of October) and for its preservation ability on the plant. It has very interesting organoleptic qualities, especially in its dried state. In its dried state it has a very bright straw colour; the flavours are those of ripe fruite, bananas and pineapples, towards two/three years of ageing the hints or honey and magnolia can be tasted; it also has ethereal and hydrocarbon olfactory aspects, like that of an “Alsatian wine”.

 

FALANGHINA

The falernina, the grape tied to the phalanx, is widely diffuse in the province of Naples. On Mount Vesuvius it is mainly used to complete the Lacryma Christi, especially in the spumante wine type, thanks to its acidity. There are also pure vines in the Pompeian igt. This variety has different analogies with the Neapolitan falanghina of Campi Flegrei, with the most evident aspect in common, the round grape, but very different for its compact grape bunches.
It has a good, constant productivity; it ripens during the second half of September and has a straw colour, delicate bouquets of ripe pears, rennet apples and wild flowers.

 

VERDECA

The name Verdesca derives from the typical colour of the berries. From analogous etymology with other Italian varieties, it was first introduced in Italy by the Greeks. It is mainly harvested in the Taranto plains and in the Ionic regions. Thanks to its low content it is mainly used for the making of vermouth. On Mount Vesuvius, where there is a modest amount, it is only used to make the white Lacrima Christi wine. It ripens during the second half of September and has a light straw colour that tends towards a greenish colour.

 

GRECO DEL VESUVIO

The famous white vine characterized by the double grape bunches from the grape stalk. It probably first grew here, at the foot of the volcano to then reach the hinterland areas. Today its progeny, mainly diffuse in only a few Vesuvian vineyards between Terzigno and Trecase, slightly differs from the original plant and has bigger grapes and leaves. It ripens in the first ten days of October and has an intense straw colour. It has a citrus fruit bouquet with hints of minerals and acacia flowers; with ageing it takes on more hints of honey and dried almonds.

 

MINOR VINES

On Mount Vesuvius, amongst the many vines, there are also small extensions of other vines, handed down from generation to generation, usually produced for personal uses and are particularly rare, such as the Tintoria or Tintore del Vesuvio, Pagadebito, Suppezza, Surbegna, Suricillo, Castagnara, Catalanesca Nera, Coda di cavallo, Coda di pecora, Grecagna, Lugliesella, Pisciazzella, Uva di Colore, Uva Rosa, Sant’Antonio and San Pietro. DNA research has shown that many vines have very interesting organoleptic properties.

 
 

CUISINE

The cuisine of Ercolano is characterized by a blend of sweet and savoury, such as aubergines with chocolate, rissoles and ‘braciole’ (roulades) with raisins and pine nuts, and sweet ‘casatiello’ (a round savoury lard bread for Easter time).