Cereals and bread
Once upon a time there were numerous mills in Trentino, thanks to the abundance of water and the spread of cereal cultivation. Grain, wheat, sorghum, rye, oats and barley were milled. In Vallagarina, even today, there are many testimonies that allow us to take a dip in the past.
The still functioning Mill of the Zeni Family in Sorne di Brentonico and the Mill of Arlanch in Vallarsa. Here it is possible to admire the large wooden wheel on the outside, the millstones created with the Leno rocks, the machinery and tools used for processing. The return to cereal cultivation and grinding, which started in recent years, contributes to building paths from the field to the oven and gives the products of bakeries, holiday farms and restaurants unique flavors. It is from the bread, or rather from the bread, that some of the best-known Trentino recipes are born, such as “canederli” and “strangolapreti”. Dishes that recall the peasant and popular origins of the local cuisine.
The buckwheat and the fanzelto
Today, in some valleys of Vallagarina, there is a return to the cultivation of buckwheat, once present in most of the mid-mountain valleys of Trentino. Here, in the spring and summer months, the sowing is made in a broadcaster, while, after having worked the soil, the fields sprout and become bright green. In October, when it is ripe, the wheat is ready for cutting.
At the end of the mowing with the ears, the characteristic conical sheaves are built. Large, well laid out in the field in rows, in groups or in random order. The soil thus assumes the classic appearance of the field of buckwheat, or “formenton”, at the end of the harvest. Through the beating with a tool, called in dialectal form “flavel”, the grains of buckwheat are separated from the parts of the plant that enclose them and from the rest of the green mass. Once the operation is complete, the grains are then gathered, from which the “farina negra” (black flour) was finally obtained.
At one time, when white flour was a rare ingredient, in the Terragnolo valley farmers created a recipe that allowed them to replace bread using the ingredients available to them. It was the “fanzelto”, a thin bread that exploited the availability of buckwheat. This product has long contributed to sustaining the population of the valley, becoming a traditional recipe that has survived the passage of time. Inserted in the basket of specialties of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, it is prepared with water, buckwheat and salt, cooked in an iron pan with a little lard or olive oil, and served in combination with other genuine products, like cold cuts or cheeses.