Marche Food & Wine


Traditonal Specialities
Sapa & Salamino di fichi

If we had to think of a sweet which epitomises the flavours of Le Marche, one the first that comes to mind is salamino di fichi (fig bread), not so much for its “representative” regional character, but for the choice of ingredients and simplicity of preparation an aniseed and sapa (very concentrated cooked must), certainly two of the most typical flavours of Le Marche, and then figs and almonds.

In these and in other “un-sweet” sweets of clearly popular derivation we find the regional gastronomic character, and maybe also that of Le Marche inhabitant. Sober, prudent and measured , that necessity virtuosus know how which is expressed proverbially in “nozze con I fichi secchi” (wedding feast of dry figs), a synonymous of nuptial banquets without ostentation and a clever use of one’ s own, even if limited, resources.

A sobriety which, thinking about it, can claim unfashionable gastronomic modernity: the use of local raw material, the intriguing as well as balanced play of “poor” ingredients that avoids excessive flavours with a measured moderate concession to sugar.

This is to be found in sweets decisively more substantial, such as frustingo. Going back to the origin of this typical Marche sweet (which has many varieties, even linguistic, other than in the ingredients), we discover that it derives from “frusto” and “poor”, and that we are once again in the pr4sence of a remarkable imaginative capacity for invention, starting from everyday ingredients. Le Marche sweets are often “un-sweet” also because created at a time when sugar was used parsimoniously and it was used to “bind” the various types of dry fruit or the other ingredients, above all snubbing butter, belonging to the Italian north.

A few small producers, true craftsmen, fortunately saved these, cuylturally important, sweets, even if sometimes in really tiny quantities: for lonzini or salamini or panetti di fichi (fig bread). In the first two, the figs are cut up and the pastry is wrapped in fig-leaves; in the other they are compressed, whole, using a small press. A sort of gastronomic W.W.F. would really be auspicious for all craft food products,.

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