It is no accident that Italian cuisine has been recognised as intangible heritage by Unesco. Italian cuisine is about more than simply how food is cooked. It is a blend of ingredients, techniques and customs which encapsulate the history of Italy. Indeed, Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of political and social changes, with roots going back to the fourth century BC, influenced and in turn enriched by Etruscan, ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arabic cuisine, as well as undergoing major transformations with the discovery of the New World and the introduction of new ingredients such as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, which are an essential part of Mediterranean cuisine today.
The main feature of our culinary tradition is its extreme simplicity, relying on the quality of the ingredients rather than elaborate preparation. Its dishes and recipes have often been created by grandmothers rather than by bona fide chefs, passed down from generation to generation in the popular culture of each village.
Italy is renowned the world over for its cuisine, which is steeped in history and life, where each recipe tells of the features of each region, each town and each little village, though the naturalness of every single ingredient that is chosen with care to make each dish prepared a masterpiece.
The cuisine of the province of Terni bears witness to a difficult history, permeated by wars but also by the richness of its people. Terni is a land with a veritable wealth of local products and dishes, which seems purpose-made for food and wine tourists looking for gastronomic experiences which leave their mark on the memory of the palate and a desire to return. The province’s flagship dish is probably Ciriole di Terni, a kind of thick spaghetti obtained from the dough of water and flour (known as Manfricoli in Narni, Picchiarelli in Sangemini, Umbrichelle in Orvieto and Pici in the upper Orvieto area), which are just the tip of the iceberg of a vast range of flavours all waiting to be discovered at the table.
Embarking on the arduous task of documenting the specialities and the collective memory of the area through its recipes has become an unimaginable adventure.
It has been a bit like tasting the history of Italy and of our region in particular, reconstructing it through the stories of the people who with deft hands have been able to recreate the recipes of yesteryear.
It only remains for us to wish everybody buon appetito!