Since many years, in Ariccia, in the province of Rome, is handed down from one generation to another the secret of the genuineness of Porchetta di Ariccia IGP, real pride of Lazio, difficultly reproducible elsewhere.
History and curiosities
Among the most popular places of middle Italy, very close to Rome, there is the particular Ariccia. The town is known for the production of a typical product. Its origins are linked to the Romanic and Latin populations. Standing to the evidences, the ministers from this area used to prepare pork’s meat as a sacrifice in the temple of Jupiter, on the Monte Cavo.
The term “Porchetta di Ariccia” used to indicate this tasteful product dates back to Fifties of the Twentieth Century, when manufacturers of Porchetta, called traditionally “porchettari”, organized a local festival, “Sagra della Porchetta di Ariccia”, in order to celebrate and honor this special product. From that moment on, the tradition is kept alive by local manufacturers that every year celebrate this festival wearing the traditional costumes.
The term “porchetta”, and so, the feminine gender used for this name, is due to the fact that to produce this product, are used only meats from feminine animals, leaner and more adapted to this production.
The tradition of porchetta is kept alive since many years, handing down it from fathers to sons. “Porchetta di Ariccia IGP” is faithful to the original recipe, and still today there are many traditional families that live in here and dedicate to this product.
Who knows the writer Carlo Emilio Gadda, author of “Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana”, will probably have read a particular passage in which he describes the traditional production of porchetta, describing the methods.
In June 14, 2011, “Porchetta di Ariccia” obtained the recognition of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
Production and Regulation
“Porchetta di Ariccia IGP” must be produced in the entire territory of Ariccia, in the province of Rome, in the region of Lazio. It is a famous product, made from the following ingredients: pork’s meat, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. More exactly, to produce this particular product, they use meat from feminine porks, leaner and with a more adapt taste.
As we know, since 2011, “Porchetta di Ariccia IGP” is protected by a specific Regulation, in which are described all the productive processes and the features that the final product should have. For what concerns this aspect, we remember that the term “Porchetta di Ariccia” can be used only for the entire “porchetta” or the log, which correspond to a specific part of the half carcass.
The carcass is manually deboned, salted, topped with pepper, rosemary and garlic, and finally wrapped with natural cords. This is an important passage because it consent meat to remain compact in the following step.
The product can be now cooked in oven at a temperature between 160-280° C for 3-5 hours. Ovens used for this passage are particularly big and have some containment tanks, useful to collect fat. The heat reduction occurs gradually, in specific cooling rooms, at a temperature between 10° to 30°C.
“Porchetta di Ariccia IGP” can be sold entire, in logs or sliced. We can find it in commerce in specific vacuum-sealed, plastic or paper boxes. In any case, a PGI product must show a label with the mark and the community logo of the product.
Taste and characteristics
“Porchetta di Ariccia” is a famous gastronomic product. Meat is tasteful and spicy, thanks to the equilibrated presence of rosemary, pepper and garlic. Its color goes from white to pink.
Rind is bright, crunchy and brown. In the part of girth it has a softer texture. This crunchy texture is a distinctive aspect of “porchetta”, which can be consumed in slices.
“Porchetta” is usually eaten in slices. It can represent a tasteful second dish or an ideal stuffing for sandwiches, better if with rustic bread. Great alone, thanks to its taste and rind’s crunchiness, the intense scent due to spices, tasted with a glass of wine or handcrafted beer.
In the typical “fraschette” of the area Castelli Romani, you can eat still today the original “porchetta”, with a cutting board of cheeses and cold cuts, accompanied by a glass of one of the wines of Castelli.
If it is true that in most cases a traditional dish is great with a local wine, it is also true that cooking and taste are extremely subjective. “Porchetta” can be interpreted in many creative ways: someone prefers it with a white wine, dry and full-bodied, instead of red and light-bodied.
Slices of “porchetta” can be served with a glass of Franciacorta or a pleasant and fresh Verdeca. For the fact that it is a particularly known product, it can be easily reinterpreted and enriched by the same ingredients of local cooking, first of all the crunchy Altamura’s Bread.