Terre del Conero





In this section you will find many interesting facts and insights about our area, its food and traditions. You will also come across many tips about healthy eating, and there are some simple recipes that you can use to enjoy our products.

Beef

For centuries the poor classes, would eat meat only on feast days and, in those cases, the maximum concession would be to eat some husbandry animal (such as poultry or rabbits) or ritual animals, such as the lamb for Easter, excluding beef of course, which was almost unknown to the peasant diet. Beef was commonly bought and sold by people who lived in the city.

Moreover in the course of the centuries the "Book of Becharia of the magnificent City of Ancona', in the public register of animals that came from the herds and flocks of the surrounding countryside to be slaughtered in the city, shows an exponential growth of processed beef: in 1517 they were 277 "steers, heifers and calves" making a total of 267.60 tons, in 1636-37 they were 591 steers amounting to 1025.28 tons. Similarly meat from calves rose from 54 to 101.07 tons.

At the beginning and during the late eighteenth century, two inventories recorded in the same family farm of Numana show the importance of cattle in agricultural land of the Conero, that were in the "possession of Francesco Angelo Babino workers of the Casone, farm in Numana" (acts of succession 1710 and 1775, where we can also read about the curious names given to the cows, Faurì, Contadì, Pasovà).

There is also recent evidence of the presence of cows and oxen and their management by the inhabitants of the Conero, who were constantly torn between being people of the countryside or of the sea. We can cast our minds back to look at some memories collected in Portonovo. At the beginning of the twentieth century there is an Act in which a new street was made, which is roughly equivalent to the current access route to Mezzavalle, coming from the south, in order to carry oxen and carriages towards the marina. The straw and sedge collected at sea constituted in fact an important source of forage for the animals, but if necessary the access to animals from the seashore could also be used for any other shipping purposes, especially for carrying heavy goods. Each descent to the sea shore was an opportunity to bathe the animals, who seemed to appreciate this opportunity. In fact everything that was transported to Portonovo passed through the access streets by carts that were pulled by oxen and cows.

References in particular to cows and oxen being used as means of transport can be found, and it is certain that these Marche breeds, reared in the wild or semi-wild, had absolute freedom to even reach the sea and bathe in it, eating the summer plants that were typical of this spot in the Conero, or consuming fresh or dried fodder from natural lawns, and artificial grass crops that were characteristic of the area.

As for the Podolica breed from which they derive (introduced in the sixth century by the Lombards), the Marche breed lived in this semi-wild state, which made them strong and healthy animals. The breed of the Marche took hold in the Marche in the mid-nineteenth century, when some breeders of the Marche region decide to cross-breed the Podolica with the Chianina to obtain a breed that was suitable both to work in the fields and to produce meat. At the beginning of the twentieth century a further intersection with the breeds of Romagna lowered the stature of the animal, making it fully functional to work in the fields.

All white cattle breeds reared in the Apennines of Central Italy (Marche, Romagna and Chianina beef) are derived from cattle that arrived in Italy with the Lombard invasions captained by Agilulfo. The Marche and Romagna breed, which were previously working animals engaged in the fields and for transport, have a great adaptability to harsh climates and especially to rough terrain.

In the past, up to the Second World War, the consumption of beef was definitely a status symbol of the upper classes. It was referred to in particular in an important cookbook such as  Il cuoco maceratese by Antonio Nebbia, which was the first cookbook published in the region, printed in its last edition in 1784. It contains a recipe for«Bue alla moda», "Ox made for today’s tastes", which came from from the tradition of eighteenth-century French bourgeois cooking. This recipe would become a classic of the stately tables of the Marche. It is still remembered and referred to in the text of Nicla Mazzara Morresi who tried in 1978 to identify the traditional cuisine of this region.

Further proof of the importance and of the presence of assorted cuts of beef in the kitchen of the upper classes in ordinary everyday life, is proven in 1819 by a group of recipes submitted for each month in the almanac for Il Fa per Tutti, printed in Ancona: there we find calf's liver "in bread crumbs', ‘piqued’ beef ‘nerves, ‘ears of veal in white Brase', 'loin of veal on the spit, "breast of veal’, ‘fried beef brain’, "beef sausage," and "beef tongue in gravy."

But even if the noble cuts of beef often remained the exclusive preserve of the aristocratic class and of the bourgeois, the traditions of the Conero are reminiscent of a recipe that uses offal and that has always been considered popular, even as a form of street food. It was usually sold during the days of the great cattle fairs, and is namely the«Trippa alla moda del poggio». "Tripe of the hills."



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Terre del Conero Agricoltori per Natura, soc. coop. agr. Via Peschiera 30, 60020 Sirolo (AN) P.IVA 02474980428
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development