Matera Bread, Matera Sassi

Gastronomy

The presence in the region of typical high-quality products is developing a food and wine tourism type. Expression of this reality are the many restaurants, clubs and trattorias. These propose traditional recipes; simple dishes, made with the genuine products of our land, as befitted a people of farmers devoted mainly to the cultivation of wheat, of which our hills are rich, legumes and olives.

Walking around the small shops of the city you can appreciate among the many typical products, Matera bread, baked Maian olives, dried tomatoes in oil, pecorini, manteche, acacia wines, acacia honey, lucanica (Varro – we call Lucanica a minced meat, stuffed in a gut, because our soldiers have learned how to prepare it from the Lucans) and whatever else you will be curious to taste.

TYPICAL PRODUCTS

Bread

Among the typical products bread Is undoubtedly the best known. Hard wheat flour compound is famous for its long shelf life. In fact, the natural yeasts and the thick outer crust allow the bread to keep inside a soft crumb even after several days of cooking. Cooking is done in stone ovens used exclusively by oak.

Wood-cooking gives the bread a scent and a fragrance that make it quite special. In the past, bread making was homemade. The housewife getting up early now kneaded the mass and then brought it to the baker for cooking. It used to be marked with the “bread stamp.” This object was carved in wood and was different for each family, with which it was possible to locate their own piece of bread.

Dried tomatoes in oil

The production of preserves, intended for family needs, represents a strong moment of aggregation of the whole family, also marked the passage of the seasons. In July and August, tomato preserves were prepared, including dried tomatoes in oil. Harvested in the early hours of the morning, tomatoes were stretched out in the sun after being washed and cut in half to allow for faster drying. The dried tomatoes were then stored in olive oil in order to be enjoyed as a side dish in the winter months.

Raw peppers

Introduced in Europe around the 17th century, pepper immediately became a vegetable commonly used in Lucan cuisine for its extreme ductility. Ben goes with any kind of dish, great to enjoy with pasta, eggs, potatoes and other vegetables. Turning the crusk pepper (crunchy) is an art.
Skill and mastery are required in both phases.
In the drying phase in the sun: the peppers are tied to a wire through the pigeon so much as to form a “cult” that is hung in the open air;

cooking raw peppers

In the cooking phase: the peppers, should be detached from the “serta” and cleaned with a cloth (never washed in water), without breaking them should be deprived of the pigeon and seeds before dipping them in boiling oil, strictly olive; with the foam they should be turned in such a way as to make the cooking even, then quickly removed from the oil and lying on a sheet of paper towels. After a few minutes the pepper becomes crisp and ready to be served.

Raw peppers Sassi di Matera

Cheese

Pastoral activity in Basilicata begins already in the Iron Age, as evidenced by the many tools. For the processing and storage of milk they used these tools found in areas of archaeological interest. An ancient tradition handed down from generation to generation with a wide range of dairy products such as the “caciocavallo”. Of particular value is the podolic caciocavallo from the podolic cows that graze free on the Lucane heights producing a milk of high sensory qualities.

After only three months of seasoning it is ready to be enjoyed.
La Manteca is a typical dairy product with spun dough that contains a heart of butter, great to cost on bread croutons.
The ricotta cheese obtained from the mixture of goat’s milk and sheep is hand-crafted and subjected to a natural seasoning. Salted dry, it is great to enjoy grated on fresh pasta topped with tomato sauce.

Cold cuts

The Lucan sausage “Lucanica” was already used by Roman troops for the ease of transport and preservation of the product. It is for this reason that Lucanica was a precious commodity. In the past it could be replaced with Roman sesterzi for the payment of duty. From the less noble parts of the pig, cut at knifepoint, then the “piece of food” is obtained.  this was a very tasty sausage because it is composed of meats that come from the pork entrails. The bese can also be used to flavor the sauce.

Wines

The wine tradition has its roots in the necropolis and notary dating back to the 7th century BC. they contained refined bronze vases for the preservation of wine. A long tradition that leads to conceive of some of the structures of the Sassi di Matera as cellars. This is demonstrated by the wine-making poles and the various conservation tanks on various levels. The lower ones, in fact, allowed a better temperature for the aging of the wine. Wine production was so high. In the 14th century the city obtained the privilege of not allowing the sale of wines other than those produced on site. In 1971 we have the recognition of a DOC, that of the Aglianico, already produced during the longobarda domination, from which it takes its name. It is characterized by the ruby red color with intense scents of fruity, with a robust character.

Olive oil

The olive crop in Basilicata dates back to the 6th century BC. archaeological finds found in the metapontino. Olive farming is certainly one of the most active agricultural sectors, with oil production. The quality of the oil is characterized by a low acidity and a pleasant fruity flavor. Essential ingredient of every typical Lucan recipe. It is very good to enjoy on slices of stale, stale maternal bread roasted over the fire. Among the different varieties of olives, the corn is of particular value also for the processing process with baking. Great to enjoy to accompany cheeses and cured meats.

SPONTANEOUS PRODUCTS

You can also appreciate the goodness of spontaneous products such as cardoncelli mushrooms and wild asparagus that grow on the Murgia, Porcini and truffles of the most mountainous areas.