Italian Good News: Nonna's Superfood
- WTI Magazine #92 Jun 16, 2017
One out of four Italians (25%) bought superfoods at least once a year, ie food products to which specific health properties are associated. Italy can offer a good alternative to exotic products, as demonstrated by the first exhibition of Nonna's Superfood, from purple carrots to turquoise potatoes, from Cascia roveja to pompia to purgatory beans. This is what emerges from the Coldiretti/Ixe survey presented in the year dedicated by the UN to sustainable tourism.
Italy has 40,000 farms involved in the conservation of seeds or plants at risk of extinction. A Made in Italy heritage that in a completely natural way helps the environment and meets the demand for wellness at the table. From long-life elixirs to antistress, from aphrodisiacs to energizing to those who help diet, fight cholesterol or intolerance, Nonna's superfoods respond to all tastes and needs, while the most popular turmeric, azure or ginger beans are largely from countries like India and China that are at the top of the world for contamination risks and food insecurity.
"In Italy, Campagna Amica is the largest network of farms and zero-mileage markets that offers economic opportunities for breeders and growers of varieties and races at risk of extinction, that would otherwise never survive the rules of modern forms of distribution" said Coldiretti President Roberto Moncalvo. Moncalvo also pointed out that "Nonna's superfoods are back on the tables of the Italians thanks to the farmers' commitment that has saved them from the risk of extinction and to consumer demand for the amazing healthy and nutritional properties".
Polignano's purple carrots are considered a true elixir of long life thanks to the high amounts of polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins with antioxidant power, while the "Barattiere", an ancient variety of Apulian cucumber, is ideal for dieters, since it ensures high potassium content and low sugar and sodium. For those who, on the other hand, are looking for "helpers" between the sheets, in Calabria they cultivate Diamante chilli that shows promising aphrodisiac properties. The red onion from Cavasso Nuovo, in Veneto, is however a cure-all against stress, high blood pressure and hypertension due to an increasingly hectic life, but also helps to reduce cholesterol. And for those with liver swollen with disgust and anger there is also the white Piedmont carrot that has a beneficial effect as it regulates the production of bile.
In Sardinia sapompia was recovered, a sort of cedar from the thick and rough peel used in desserts and liqueurs, but from which we also obtain essential oils that treat cough and cold and also help the bowel. For those suffering from celiac disease, from Lombardy comes the black-violet corvus-corn, which is gluten-free, rich in anthocyanins, very antioxidant. In Campania there is the cherry tomato "del Piennolo", an ancient tomato variety that wisely braided and left in the open air has the ability to withstand for a whole year while keeping its extraordinary organoleptic characteristics unaltered.
Turquoise potatoes from Abruzzo have interesting anti-tumor and anti-aging properties thanks mainly to some substances present in their skin. In Friuli Venezia Giulia the Rose of Gorizia blossoms: it is not a flower, but a fine variety of red radish that helps to purify the body for those who have exaggerated a little eating too much food, in addition to being rich in iron, calcium, antioxidants, folic acid and vitamins. The red eggplant is cultivated again in Basilicata thanks to the farmers' commitment and this has been a fortune for consumers, as this type of vegetable has among its main properties the antioxidant, useful to counteract cellular aging, as well as reducing cholesterol.
From the Marche region come "visciole", wild cherry variety that once grew spontaneously in the countryside. The peasants picked them up and made them dry in the sun and then consumed them during work in the fields for their invigorating properties. Cascia's roveja, cultivated by Umbrian farmers, is an antique legume with high protein content and few fat, very suitable for those who have to lose weight.
It is necessary for the farmers of Emilia Romagna to recover the Moretto artichoke from Brisighella, already known in antiquity for its iron richness, low sugar content and laxative properties, as well as for the preparation of herbal tea and tonic liquors. In Sicily the Leonforte bean was cultivated in antiquity to improve the quality of wheat soils and ensure food rich of protein and mineral salts that could be dried and stored for a long time. In Lazio, Purgatory beans produce excellent nutritional properties. But there are also biodiversity products that guarantee a high level of ... taste.
Chinotto is a ligurian specialty, which can be prepared in various ways: syrup, candied, liqueur, elixir, jam and even as a mustard. Also excellent are the "Puzzone di Moena", cheese from the unmistakable flavor of Trentino Alto Adige; Tintilia, ancient Molise grape; and the Motzetta, strips of dried meat from Valle d'Aosta.