olive oil lentils chickpeas truffles artichokes figs bread wine and mozzarella
Olive Oil the Phoenicians planted the first olive trees around the XVI century BC, first on the island of Cyprus then in Asia Minor. Its greatest success was achieved in Greece where the myth was that the goddess Athena, in competition with the other gods, was declared the winner of a contest by Zeus by creating the olive tree. Historians have determined that the first olive tree “Plato's Olive Tree” was planted near Athens some 2500 years ago.
Olive Oil is Cultivated Everywhere in Italy with 23 DOP and 1 IGP Denominations
In Cilento, it is cultivated on the hills and by the sea, blending harmoniously with other species in the territory. As one of the pillars of the Mediterranean Diet, extra-virgin olive oil is present in virtually all the dishes of this area. Among its benefits is the lack of physical and chemical manipulations as it is simply extracted by pressing the olives. It is the only oil produced by a fruit as opposed to a seed.
Legumes were introduced only from the 10th Century, thereby making a gradual contribution to the welfare of the population, increasing resistance to disease and thereby aiding in the repopulation of Europe. Later, with the discovery of the Americas and the importation of agricultural products, beans emerged as a basic staple without which the population could not have doubled in size in just a few centuries.
In Italy, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans are the most common staples. Some are canned and are therefore available off season and in areas where they are not cultivated. Both fresh and dry, they are a key component of Italian cuisine and especially the cucina povera.
Lentils were among the first foods to be cultivated and consumed by man; traces have been found in Turkey in ruins dating back to 5500 BC as well as in Egyptian tombs from 2500 BC.
Cickpeas originally from the Orient, the name derives from the Latin word aries which refers to the shape of the seed. A major staple in the Middle East and in India, they are cooked with pasta, as soup and as a side dish.
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The Black Truffle has found a perfect habitat in the beech woods in harmony with oak trees, birch, hazel trees and black pine. It can be found in different areas of central and southern Italy, including the Picentini mountains that cut across Avellino and Salerno provinces. It has had its place for nearly two thousand years in the more culturally sophisticated gastronomy, appreciated for its unique aroma. It has been found in sizes approaching that of a grapefruit and acts as an environmental guard as it refuses to grow in polluted terrain.
Artichokes the Paestum plain is famous for its abundant and quality production of fruits and vegetables. Aside from tomatoes, lettuce, fennel and zucchini, artichokes are very important. Originally a plant of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, artichokes have become economically important in the Cilento region from the 1920s following major land reclamation.
The White Fig its Cilentano origins precede the 6th Century BC but its roots are from Southern Arabia. This fruit started as the poor man's bread but today it is considered a delicacy. Dry figs are also stuffed with chocolate, fennel seeds, almonds, chestnuts and other ingredients available in Cilento.
The History of Bread begins with that of man with barley and millet the preferred ingredients as they were ideal from a nutritional standpoint; they were eventually replaced by cereal. The invention of bread can be attributed to the Egyptians nearly 3000 years ago. They also developed the first ovens.
The Greeks Developed 72 varieties of Bread whereas the Romans Improved on Windmills
Wine is by its very nature the opposite of an industrial product that never varies; it is different from area to area and is subject to climactic conditions. It also evolves, matures and declines over time.
There is no Such Thing as Biological Wine Only Biological Grapes
Mozzarella the domestic water buffalo originated from India and Persia. It arrived in Italy in the year 596 during the reign of the Longobard king Aginulfo. It thrives in warm, swampy areas rich in water such as the Nile Delta. In Europe, it has found fertile ground in Puglia, Campania and the low lands along the Danube river. In Cilento, mozzarella was received with great pleasure by the nobility while on the Grand Tour to Pompeii and Paestum. They were served the provatura of the buffalo cheese, a test to verify the salt content. The word mozzarella comes from mozzata or cutting.
Mozzarella di Bufala is Recognized with a DOC Label in Italy and a DOP Label in Europe
Mozzarella is produced exclusively with buffalo milk, mostly in Campania and Southern Lazio, in four distinct phases: acidification of the milk; maturation; preparation and conservation.
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