Those who have traveled around Abruzzo know how varied and rich is the gastronomy of this undiscovered Region in Central Italy. The variety of ingredients and traditional dishes is incredible, and this reflects the diversity of landscapes of this territory, stretched between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea.
In the Province of Teramo, on a fertile hill between the the sea and the arid badlands, stands the charming town of Atri. Of pre-Roman origins and known as Hatria, the town was the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Adrian‘s parents, and probably the place who has given the name to the Adriatic Sea. Visiting the town is like taking a step back in time; archaeological remains, squares, palaces, churches and picturesque alleys that still preserve the characteristics of Medieval towns, and in some points that of Roman towns.
THE TOWN OF LIQUORICE
Apart for its glorious past, the town of Atri is also famous for the production of liquorice, a craft possibily dating back to Roman times. In the 16th Century the Dominican monks of the Monastery in Atri started the liquorice harvest. The clayish territory was rich of this spontaneous root, known as a powerful natural remedy (especially against liver troubles, gastritis and cough), as an anti-inflammatory and antiviral.
The coastal areas of Abruzzo have always been an ideal place for the cultivation of liquorice, especially the area around Atri known as “Calanchi di Atri” (Badlands). This particular area is now a Natural Regional Reserve enstablished in 1995. It presents impressive forms of rainfall-induced erosion, the badlands, also known as Dante’s pits.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, when the number of monks started to decrease, Rodolfo De Rosa, following the footsteps of the monks who used to extract the juice of liquorice from the root, started the industrial production of liquorice in Atri. Menozzi De Rosa is currently a world leader in the production of this specialty; most liquorice flavored candies and chewing gums are made with the liquorice from Menozzi De Rosa.
WHEN TRADITION MEETS INNOVATION – THE LIQUORICE CANTUCCI
Our great passion for Abruzzo and its most peculiar flavors always leads us to search for the best products in the Region, and we love when younger generations, following the footsteps of their parents, continue the family traditions bringing a breath of fresh ideas, innovation and creativity.
It is the case of Giorgia Di Egidio, a young and talented pastry chef, who is giving a new life to traditional pastry making. We visited her tiny lovely shop where she produces a selection of flavored bisquits, from choco-cinamon to ginger-pine nut, to the ones who have caught our attention, the liquorice cantucci made with the liquorice from Menozzi De Rosa.
Giorgia started the production of these tasty bisquits 5 years ago, and these delicacies have been rising attention among food connoisseurs. The wise use of high quality ingredients, which are the best expression of the territory, and the idea of combining the intense and strong flavor of liquorice with the delicate and simple flavor of a traditional Italian cookie like “cantuccio”, make this product an exclusive treat for real food lovers. Giorgia’s cantucci have caught the attention of guests at the recent Expo in Milan, and at the Westchester Italian Cultural Center in New York, where they have been particularly appreciated with a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red wine.
ON APRIL 24TH LIQUORICE CANTUCCI ARE FLYING TO JAPAN!
We are holding monthly events at the Abruzzese Restaurant “Trattoria dai Paesani” in Tokyo. Our team member Junko
Kato together with Japanese blogger Aya Asami (Andiamo in Abruzzo) this time will introduce Atri, the liquorice cantucci and the Pan Ducale di Atri, another local specialty, to a small group of Japanese who are getting more and more interested about Abruzzo and its treasures and flavors.
Do you like liquorice?
Would you love to taste liquorice cantucci with a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo?
Can you think of any other ways to taste these delicacy?
Let us know in the comments below!
Atri. Civitas Vetusta. Città d’arte.
Town of incredible hidden treasures.
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