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Norcia and its gastronomy

Discovering Umbria

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The Black Truffle of Norcia
It is one of the gastronomic delicacies of our country, a precious and very sought-after product, a real gastronomic gem. Norcia's territory, and mainly the part of it, that skirts the course of the rivers Nera, Sordo and Corno, as well as some zones in the mountains around Spoleto, is full of truffles.

The Tuber Melanosporum Cittadini, better known as Tartufo Nero Pregiato Umbro di Norcia (Umbrian rare black truffle of Norcia), grows from November to March, is black with shades from brown to purple to reddish with a whitish veining. Its size varies from few centimetres in diameter to the dimensions of an orange.

The existence of the truffle in Norcia's surrounding area has decisively influenced the local gastronomy which obtains prestige and glory of the dishes, that are enriched with the taste and the scent of the famous tuber.

Unlike the white truffle, the black one in order to exalt its characteristics needs to be cooked and heated up, also if it remains uncooked in some dishes without losing its taste characteristics.

The preparations, that allow best to taste the black truffle, are those handed down by tradition like the pasta dish ''Strengozzi al tartufo''. The strengozzi are a type of homemade pasta, which is made only from water and flour, similar to thick and irregular fettuccine. The dish is prepared in a quite simple way, frying lightly garlic and a pinch of Cayenne pepper in a generous amount of oil. At pleasure one can add an anchovy. After washing the truffle it is grated and added to the very hot oil for some minutes. This is mixed with the prepared strengozzi until the seasoning is well distributed.

The black truffles are delicious also with simple spaghetti.

Indeed the local and national gastronomy has worked out the whole aromas of the truffle in rich and refined dishes, making it a practically indispensable element of the most sought-after cookery.

The Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Nero di Norcia
In February takes place one of the most appreciated and visited exhibition markets, the Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Nero di Norcia at Norcia, totally dedicated to the truffle. The many stalls of the producers and exhibitors of Tuber Melanosporum Cittadini show it in all its facets. They inform about the picking, the various uses in cookery, the tradition and the history of this precious product.

Within the context of the event exhibitions and conferences are organized where are discussed gastronomic topics as well as those concerning the culture of picking truffles, an enormous resource of the territory.

The lentils of Castelluccio di Norcia
They are the best known and probably the best in Italy. Some of their characteristics make them unique on the national level, like their delicacy, the diameter of scarcely two millimetres and their capacity to resist a long period of conservation.
The cultivation of the lentils of Castelluccio meets strictly biological criterions, which is a rather old tradition and the result of the centuries-old local culture. Besides the fields are subject to three-year rotation, and the lentils are rotated with one year of wheat and one of pasture. The result is a genuine and tasty lentil with a very tender peel and therefore it is not necessary to soak them before cooking.
The ''norcineria''
The fame of Norcia in processing pork is attested by the term with which are still denoted its products: the norcineria (pork butchery).

Since ancient times the territory of Norcia was considered the best place and the homeland of the masters in the art to prepare tasty and genuine sausages.

Still today the processing is done following traditional techniques, that are those centuries-old ones which have helped to exalt the tastes handed down by the great artisans of the past.

One of the most famous products is the ham Prosciutto di Norcia, that was awarded with the mark of quality IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) already in 1998.

Among the factors, that contribute to make the salami and cold pork meats of Norcia great protagonists of the table, the climate has an important role, because it allows an optimum maturing which gives fragrances and tastes, that surprise the palate.

Also the other products of pork are important: salami, sausages, capocollo, bacon and lard deserve the greatest attention, as give evidence the many gourmets who come to Norcia and don't let slip the opportunity to buy a good store of the best norcineria products.
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