This Little Piggy – Part II

February 2, 2009 / Food & Wine
Cave di Conca
stringata1It started out as a convivial challenge. “I need to find a name for my new product.”

Our friend Berardino Lombardo, rugged maverick chef-turned-farmer-and-breeder, had done it again: by applying the old Italian adage, del maiale non si butta niente (nothing of the pig goes to waste), he’d forged his latest idea into an novel and extraordinary example of cured meat.

We trudged deep into the chestnut forests of his 40 hectare estate, Terre di Conca, breathtakingly set on the slopes of the extinct volcano of Roccmonfina, to the hut where he prepares and smokes his products. There amidst the prized prosciutti, capocolli, soppressate and sausages hung something new. It was odd-looking: the entire back of the pig folded in half like a wallet, pressed together between two pieces of wood and firmly tied with string all along its length.

stringata2What’s more is that these were no ordinary pigs, but the rare black maiale nero Casertano, an ancient authocthonous breed which (it is said) Berardino single-handedly saved from extinction. To cure this cut of meat, it is salted, seasoned, smoked for two months over a smouldering aromatic fire of pines and bay leaves and then matured for another nine months in tufa caves. Practically impossible to find in all but the most exclusive specialty food stores in Italy, Berardino does serve this at his home/restaurant together with traditional Campanian recipes made from the heirloom fruits and vegetables he grows organically.

Berardino hoisted a big piece onto his shoulders and climbing up the hill to his 18th century casale (country/farm home) said, “Now let’s see what it tastes like.”

We sat, ate, drank and talked about this wonderful new …’thing’. It was extraordinary: delicate, rich and juicy, with a spicy, round flavour. Looking at Claudio’s photos I said the word “string” out loud in English. My husband countered with the Italian stringa. Claudio, photographer and friend, paused, then blurted, “I have it! Stringata!”

At that’s how the Stringata got its name!

These great photos by Claudio Corrivetti, grazie! Notice the many Stringata hanging in this final photo.

stringata3
Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

Owner of “Savour The Sannio”, www.savourthesannio.com, a travel consultancy for central and southern Italy.

One Response to “This Little Piggy – Part II”

  1. David Deiranieh

    Great article. We have live in Naples for five years and I have been up to Roccmonfina many times on my bike but this is new to me. Any chance Berardino’s resturate is open to the public and if so what is it called?

    Reply

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