Marche Food & Wine



Sapa is a treacly natural sweetening that, together with honey, was once used as a substitute for precious and rare sugar, but also to flavour food and drinks.

It was prepared at home, with ripe grapes selected during the picking.

After the one day fermenting, the must would be filtered in a big copper pot placed on a tripod above fire to insure long and slow boiling, up to a considerable reduction. Four litres of the must would give only one litre of sapa.

During 10 hours of boiling, scum had to be taken off the must with a large ladle. In order to lessen bitterness and the sour of sapa, white home-made bread would be immersed in it.

Since there was no sugar, ground lemon rind was used to add aroma. Peasants' wisdom instructed that, in order to prevent the precious treacle to stick onto the bottom of pot, nuts in shell should be added.

Finally, dense, dark and treacly sapa would be poured in a pail to get cold and to settle. The following day it would be bottled and stored in pantry or someplace high in the cellar, for long preservation.

Sapa was used in many ways and for many things.

It was used to season Christmas and carnival biscuits, to prepare cakes filled with home-made jams, to make perfect "crostata" and cooked fruits, to flavour polenta and to knead ring cake.

In summer, mixed with fresh water from the well, sapa would represent a delicious and refreshing drink. At present time, it can be used to coat ice-cream and the like.

  It tastes very good with cheese and with "lonza di fico".

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