TO TASTE IN
Are you passionate for cuisine or simply love good food and wine? Pleased, here is a fast guide to the main cuisine specialties that will be able to taste in our beautiful city with proposals and suggestions that will avoid you to leave from Ferrara without having at least tried one of its typical foods. I could suggest in particular:
The breath “coppia” or “la ciupeta”, in the 16th century the dukes of Ferrara provided their state with a great power and led a luxurious court life, where arts were just as important as banquets and celebrations. “Cristoforo da Messisbugo”, the dukes’ “scalco” (i.e. cook and master of ceremonies), during a banquet of carnival 1536, served for the first time a kind of “twisted” bread. That was the birth of the “ciupéta”, the most typical ferrarese bread, whose shape is a fantastic combination of male and female sexual symbols. It has a soft central part, from which four twisted corns branch off, each one ending with a crackling tip.
“Cappelletti” in brodo di carne, “,(i.e. another special kind of hand made pasta): the legendary origin of “cappelletti” (small hat-shaped ravioli with a meat stuffing) is a mixture of love and sensuality. According to the legend, Venus, during one of her stays on the earth, once woke up in an inn of Castelfranco Emilia. She rang the bell and some minutes later the cook appeared: shocked by the sight of the Venus’s naked body, he went back to the kitchen and, thinking of her navel, he created the “cappelletti”. (From ”La secchia rapita”, written by A. Tassoni, 1622).
The “pasticcio alla ferrarese”, the beginning of the l7th century, in one of the many monasteries of Ferrara the nuns invented the “pasticcio alla ferrarese”, giving it the shape of a priest’s hat; it is now one of the symbols of the local cuisine, and one whose preparation takes a long time and requires good skills. It has a sweet crust and a savoury stuffing nude of small maccheroni, mushrooms, butter; a little garlic, truffle, béchamel and a veal, chicken and beef ragout. It must he baked in the oven.
“Sguazabarbuz”, Bologna, Modena and Ferrara all claim to be the inventors of this tagliatelle pasta. The story tells that on May 29,1503 Lucrezia Borgia came to Ferrara to marry Alfonso I d’Este and a steward of the Palace, taking inspiration from her golden locks, created this special pasta and passed down the recipe from generation to generation. The pasta is cut into irregular strips, in fact they are called “maltagliati” (cut badly) and if it is cooked in a bean and pork fat broth they are called “sguazabarbuz”.
“Passatelli in brodo”, typical main dish in winter, is simple but very tasty. It is prepared with breadcrumbs, flour, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
“Cappellacci con la zucca”, (i.e. another special kind of hand made pasta): the ferrarese origin of “cappellacci” is not disputed. According to a tradition, one day the cook of duchess Lucrezia Borgia (always the Borgia!) was inspired by a strange hat of his mistress and created these hat-shaped ravioli. Comparing to “cappelletti”, they are bigger; with a thicker pastry and a stuffing nude of sweet squash mixed with Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and salt. They are cooked in hot water and served with pork ragout or sage flavoured melted butter.
La “salama da sugo” this special ferrarese dressed pork dish has been appreciated by many famous people, like Fiorenzo il Magnifico, Mascagni, Ungaretti, Greta Garbo, Gabriele D’Annunzio and many others. It’s made of pork meat, liver and tongue, mixed with red wine (with some drops of Marsala or cognac or rhum), pepper; cinnamon and dove. It’s left for at least one year hung in a dark, fresh and ventilated room. It must he boiled in water for at least four hours before serving.
Ferrara cold cuts also include:”Bondiola Poggese” & the “Zia Ferrarese” , which is a typical salami with garlic, and “Coppa di Testa” (pork sausage).
L’ anguilla Marinata (Eel) : together with other fish and shellfish, it is typical of the cuisine of this area especially of Comacchio. It is cooked and served in different ways and is almost always accompanied by the Bosco Eliceo wine and polenta (maize porridge), which has always been used instead of bread in this area: on skewers, in broth, grilled, chopped, diced, stewed and marinated.
The D.O.C. wine Ferrara has only one D.O.C. wine. In l528 Renée of France, daughter of King Louis XII, married Ercole d’Este. The French princess left many traces of her presence, in many aspects of ferrarese life. She also influenced the court cuisine and had some vineyards from Burgundy planted in a sandy area near the lagoons of Comacchio. Those vineyards were the origin of the “Vini del Bosco Eliceo”, still in production, which has about 10 degrees..
The fruits and vegetables include the famous “Pear of ‘Emilia Romagna’ with IGP mark, the “peach and Nectarine of Romagna” with IGP mark, the “Ferrara watermelon”, the “Rice of the Po Delta”, the “Garlic of Voghiera” and the “Carrot of the Ferrara Delta”.
“Pampapato” sweets created in the 17th century by the nuns of Corpus Domini, it has the shape of a “zucchetto”, the typical ecclesiastic hat. The ingredients are: wheat flour; sugar or honey, almonds, bitter and sweet cocoa powders, orange, tangerine and lemon peels, cinnamon, clove and candied fruit.
And finally there are also “sweet filled ravioli”. They are filled with jam or fruit mustard, the “mandurlìn dal pont” crispy biscuits with almonds (see photo on the left), the “torta ricciolinia or di tagliatelle” short pastry and almond paste covered with egg tagliolini pasta and the “torta tenerina” (see photo in the right) a simple cake with soft chocolate inside and covered with confectioner’s sugar.