Testarolo della Lunigiana
Fresh pastries and bakery, biscuit, confectionary and pastry products;
1. Product name:
Testarolo della Lunigiana
2. Other names:
3. Short product description:
Testarolo is an ancient unleavened circular bread with a width of 2-3mm and a diameter of 40-45cm. It has a spongy texture and white-to-tan colour. The base that comes in contact with the pan is a dark brown colour, while the top is the colour (and has the aroma) of homemade bread. It’s sold loose in bakeries and grocery stores in Lunigiana and sold on a larger scale in vacuum-packed boxes that keep it fresh.
4. Production area:
Lunigiana and province of Massa Carrara.
5. Production status:
r disappeared r at risk r active
6. Production process:
Wheat flour is mixed with warm water and salt to get a very liquid batter. Iron or cast iron plates are heated on an open fire and when they are very hot, the batter is spread on top in the shape of circle. Each disk is covered with another hot plate to complete the cooking process, which lasts a few minutes. Today many housewives use special rooms called “gradili” for both the production of testaroli and for drying chestnuts.
7. Materials, equipment and premises used for production:
s Mixing bowl
s Kitchen utensils
s Iron or cast iron plates
s Fireplace or wood-fired ovens
s Workplaces (“gradili”)
8. Notes on traditionalism, homogeneity of spread and persistence of production rules over time:
The product owes its traditional nature to its method, which has remained unchanged over time (the only changes have been to the way in which the plates are heated) and the use of unique cast iron plates for baking. The “testo” plate is a two-piece tool made up of a tray with 5-6cm edges and a dome, which is also used to cook other dishes. During cooking, the testarolo only comes into contact with the lower part (the testo “sottano”), while the heat that radiates from the covering dome (the testo “soprano”) cooks the top of the batter. Once cooked, the testarolo is cut into squares and dipped in boiling water. It’s then drained and dressed with extra virgin olive oil and grated pecorino cheese or with a pesto of basil, pine nuts, garlic and extra virgin olive oil (pesto gentile). The testarolo is also served with fresh and soft cheeses or cold cuts. It’s a poor man’s dish that was mostly eaten by the farmers, although today, it’s much sought after in the restaurants of Lunigiana.
Testaroli are made both in the home and by bakeries and pastry shops for commercial sale. Total production is estimated to be 950-1,000 tonnes a year. Sales are not only made in Lungiana, but also in the rest of the region and, in small quantities, in the rest of Italy.
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