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Zampone - Stuffed Pig's Trotter

Oct 11, 07:19 AM

zampone, bigiolo beans

Cucina Povera is sometimes about the food you don’t think of eating, upon which the cleverness of poverty and desire has worked its magic.

I’ve just has a fantastic meal of Zampone and the celebrated beans of Bigiolo (in La Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy) at the Bigiolo bean festival. Bigiolo is famous for its Borlotti beans; the minerals in the soil around the small village of Bigiolo are evidently perfect for these beans; they are practically skinless and almost sweetly delicious. Folks come from all over Italy to taste them at the sagra or festival I’ve just attended.

But here’s the interesting thing about the pig bit, the zampone. Zampone was born from yet another unjust war and the poverty of beseiged people.

In 1510 the people of Modena formed an alliance with Venice and flew the Venetian standard; Pope Giulio II, who was known as the Warrior Pope, took offence because he considered Modena to be in his sphere of influence, and besieged them. With no food coming in the Modenesi had to preserve what they had, and someone hit upon the idea of boning pigs’ forelegs and stuffing them with a mixture of ground pork, pork rinds, and spices. As far as the Modensi are concerned the zampone was the only good thing to come of the siege — the Pope won — and they continued to make them. ~ Zampone and Cotechino: Two Good Things Born of War

I encourage you to read the rest of Kyle Phillips’ exultation of the crafty use of the foreleg and foot of the pig. I’ve just had some and I can tell you this: you aren’t going to have a better plate of food from a Michelin-starred restaurant at any price, and the €5 I paid made it a steal.

James Martin

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