Ciociaria is a region of Southern Lazio, identified with the current province of Frosinone.
Ciocie, the name derives from the typical footwear of lower Lazio called "ciocie" made with leather and sheepskin strips for use by shepherds and farmers. In the city of Arpino, these typical shoes are still handcrafted today, especially for the "Gonfalone", a folkloristic event that takes place in August between the districts and the districts of the city aimed at enhancing the traditions, uses and customs of the Ciociara land .
Traditional Ciociaria cuisine is closely linked to the activity that its inhabitants have always carried out: pastoralism and agriculture. Despite the changes due to modern life, Ciociaria keeps the memory alive of that sincere and genuine peasant life, of that hard work and poor life that its inhabitants lived with tenacity, optimism, inventiveness, cordiality and hospitality. The strength of the Ciociara cuisine is the simplicity and authenticity of its products, given by the excellent agricultural resources of the territory: cereals, vegetables, vineyards, olive trees and pastoral products.
Handmade pasta is never missing on the Ciociara table. The thin sliced one is famous: "fine fine" or "maccaruni". It is one of the oldest recipes in all of southern Lazio, a tradition that has been handed down from mother to daughter for centuries (the first news of this pasta dates back to the 1500s). It is a classic pastry made of flour and eggs whose characteristic lies in the thin cut. In their traditional preparation they are seasoned with the classic Ciociaro ragù made with chicken scraps (Rigaje) flavored with a mixture of lard or ham fat, garlic and parsley cooked slowly in tomato and served with local pecorino. In the summer season, simply with a tomato and basil sauce.
Also excellent are the strozzapreti (or cecapreti), “maccaruni” made from durum wheat flour, eggs and water dressed with porcini mushrooms from the Ernici mountains. Their name dates back to the distant past when the continuous restrictions imposed by the Church had generated an anticlerical sentiment throughout the Frosinone area and the women, while preparing this pasta with care and dedication, wished the priests to suffocate while they ate it! In August the “cecapreti” festival takes place in Villa Santo Stefano.
Ingredients for 4 people
- 500g of pasta; 4 medium sized porcini mushrooms; - 1 peck of garlic; finely chopped parsley; extra virgin olive oil; salt
Mushrooms- sauté them in a pan with a base of olive oil, chopped garlic and parsley. Sprinkle everything with a pinch of salt and add a little hot water to cook the preparation.
Cook the pasta in plenty of cooking water, drain it once al dente and toss it briefly in a pan with the mushrooms prepared previously. Garnish with parsley and a few slices of raw porcini. Alternatively, use dried porcini mushrooms.
The bread of this region is very famous. In Veroli the preparation of bread has very ancient origins: it is naturally leavened and cooked in wood. It has obtained the recognition of the Igp.panediveroli brand.
Guarcino is also known for its ham. An excellence of its territory recognized as a traditional agri-food product of Lazio (P.A.T.). A ham obtained from pork from local farms, with a very flavored flavor given by red wine, chilli, juniper berries . Furthermore, the geographical position of Guarcino, located in the confluence of the valleys of Prata Longa and Capo Cosa, gives an ideal microclimate for maturing (about fifteen months): rigid in winter and cool in summer.
Always dedicated to sheep farming, Ciociaria offers many excellent cheeses, expressed in the varieties and in the characteristic taste closely linked to the farms of the different naturalistic environments: that of cattle is flourishing for the production of cow's milk, especially buffalo, for the preparation of buffalo mozzarella protected by the designation of origin. Note those of the Amaseno valley. The production of excellent buffalo ricotta is also rich. From cow's milk, another PDO worthy of note is that of the Southern Apennine Fior di latte, a dairy heritage of the whole of Southern Italy.
Throughout the Comino valley another flagship of this land is produced, the Pecorino di Picinisco DOP.
The one from Ferentino is also valuable. Pecorin_piciniscoa marzolina, a historic cheese from Ciociaria, made with gray Ciociara goat milk and white goat milk from the Ausoni and Aurunci mountains, grancacio and Morolo donut deserve mention. Conciato di San Vittore, another Ciociarian product with P.A.T. recognition, very ancient and which was already produced in the Samnites period, caciocavallo and withered scamorza from Supino. A special tip is a stay at the Casa Lawrence which is an agriturismo but also houses the farm and cheese maker "la Caciosteria" which can be translated to a “cheese tavern”. The famous English author and poet, D. H. Lawrence once lived here, so it was named after him. name. The writer found the inspiration there to complete the famous novel "The Lost Girl". The Victorian villa of Horace is now known as the “Lawrence House”. The meticulous descriptions of the environments, the rooms, the furnishings reported in "The Lost Girl" have allowed a faithful restoration of the structure of the "Lawrence" house, by the Pacitti family, in respect and protection of the scenario that presented itself to the English writer and his wife Frieda.
As for vegetables, traditional Ciociara cuisine usually brings to the table dishes prepared with wild herbs: daisies, chicory, dandelion, called “pisciacane” or“erue pazze” (crazy herbs) as they are called here. A very old recipe is "fronne e patate" based on "fronne", that is the leaves of cabbage, possibly with the addition of wild herbs boiled and sautéed in a fried bacon, especially that of the black of the Lepini Mountains , onion and chilli.
This region is also well known for its fruit and vegetables: from the cornetto pepper of Pontecorvo PDO, of high flavor, with a thin skin associated with high digestibility, to the cannellino bean of Atina PDO, characteristic for not needing to be soaked before cooking. The red garlic from Castelliri and Filettino, chestnuts from Terelle are also highly sought after.
Among the wines, in addition to many excellent places, worthy of honor is the Cesanese di Piglio, produced in the municipalities of Acuto, Anagni, Paliano, Piglio and Serrone, which has had the DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) recognition; Passerina del Frusinate, a white wine with IGT recognition, Cabernet Atina DOC, produced in the Comino valley and the surrounding hills.
There are several typical sweets. Some have their roots in Neapolitan pastry. Among these are the nougats in real paste, by Alvito: almond paste, now enriched with pine nuts, coffee beans or hazelnuts, covered with dark chocolate, another product with P.A.T. Among the traditional "caserecci" the sweet ricotta cake, a pastry filled with ricotta mixed with liqueur, eggs and dark chocolate; gingerbread, typical of the Christmas period based on dried fruit and honey; Sora's donut and the amaretti di Guarcino, the donuts with wine, aniseed, typical of all of Lazio.