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Maremma recipes: ciaffagnone and scottiglia

Maremma recipes: ciaffagnone and scottiglia

The culinary traditions of Maremma

Maremma cuisine is as rustic and simple as it is appetizing, and many aspects of it are completely different than the food from the rest of Tuscany or the nearby Lazio region. Since the time of the ancient Etruscans, it’s been said that people love Maremma for its colors, flavors, and aromas and because of the diversity that comes from its land: olive oil, chestnuts, wine, honey, game, cheeses, and fruits.

Add the native mix of hospitality and directness that its inhabitants show—which may strike tourists as “abrupt politeness”—and you’ll have a true taste of Maremma.

Many specialties are based on game, particularly on wild boar. But there are other dishes that are highly appreciated by many, like the thin, cheesy frittata called ciaffagnone, the meaty stew scottiglia (made with a mix of different quality cuts), acquacotta, panione, and Lombardy soup (all three minestrones), chiusoni (thick, handmade spaghetti), the famous bruschetta (in Maremma, called panunto), which has spread to other zones, mutton or veal, snails, anchovy pie, or the mice of Castell’Azzara.

The recipe of ciaffagnone

The “ciaffagnone” is an ancestor of modern-day crepes. Legend has it that they were first made in the 1400s in Manciano, and that Catherine de’ Medici, dissatisfied with the cooking in her French court, brought this dish over the Alps. The main difference between the ciaffagnone and crepes is that crepes are made with butter and milk, whereas ciaffagnone are only made with egg, flour, water, and salt.

There are two ways to prepare this dish: quite tall and fluffy or really really thin. Up until a few years ago, the ciaffagnone were typically served during Carnevale; but this tradition has waned with the passing of time. In Maremma you can taste this specialty during the “Winery Festival” in Manciano during the second weekend of September.

The recipe of scottiglia

The origins of the “scottiglia” are not very clear. Some point to medieval origins, while other trails lead back to the Etruscan era! But there’s no doubt that this is a humble dish enjoyed by the lower classes, created by farmers who thriftily saved every last cut of meat, even the lower quality ones (the high quality cuts went to the rich). With these leftovers, they made a delicious dish that is considered quite unique today.

Apparently, there is not one recipe for the scottiglia, because it utilizes whatever meat scraps you have on hand. Its name, which comes from the Italian word “scottata”, or scorched, given to it because of its preparation: the meat is put in an iron pan and cooked directly in the flames with hardly any cooking oil, scorching the meat.

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