With the coming of the cold weather, Roccasecca livens up with one of its special crops: Broccoletto of Roccasecca and its ‘feast’ are celebrated every year on December 8th.
The history of Roccasecca is linked to its geographical position between Lazio and Abruzzo on the path along the impressive gorges of the river Melfa excavated out of the rock. The path connects the Latina valley with the Val Comino and from its summit Roccasecca controlled all the movements of armies and shepherds since Roman times.
This caused them considerable problems especially in World War II when it was chosen by a German command as a command post and was then heavily bombarded by the allies.
In the post-war period, Roccasecca’s economy has resurged through a tasty and flavourful fruit of the earth, a particular broccoletto (small broccoli) called Rapacatalogna with slightly more bitter flavor than classic broccoli. This vegetable was demanded everywhere and was brought to the markets of the main cities thanks to the railway from Roccasecca to Rome, Naples and Abruzzo.
It is reproduced by sowing or planting the seedlings at the correct distance and this gesture has been repeated for centuries with the same enthusiasm.
To celebrate this delightful vegetable, the Broccoletto Festival was created and occurs every December 8th with an original and atypical formula, noting that these events are generally held in the summer. Each business in the Old Town prepares a different dish and distributes it from his shop or on the market stalls of the artisanal market. All of this is accompanied by folk music of the tradition of central-southern Italy.
The variety of dishes is extraordinary and ranges from appetizer to sweet and dishes are prepared which belong to both the Ciociara and Caserta traditions. In fact, these areas were for centuries part of the province Terra di Lavoro of the
Bourbon Kingdom and both the dialect and the cuisine are influenced by the Neapolitan influx.
To give an idea of the variety of dishes here is a list of the main delights, while warning, however, that every year there are novelties and that ‘reality always exceeds the imagination’.
- Polenta with broccoli
- Fried pizza filled with broccoli. First you fry the dough of the pizza and then fill it
- French Loaf with broccoli inside, a specialty of the local oven
- Frionza, one of the most famous Roccasecca dishes made with stale bread cut into small pieces and re-cooked in a frying pan with broccoli
- Sfogliatelle stuffed by broccoli and sausage chunks. A clear influence of the culinary tradition of the Campana
- Mortadella made with the addition of broccoli. It is made by a local butchery in an artisanal way by replacing pistachios with broccoli
- Sandwich with sausage and broccoli, perhaps one of the most often eaten dishes in the whole of central-southern Italy that surely competes with fast food for notoriety and wins in terms of flavour and quality
- Broccoli tart
- White lasagna with broccoli. Lasagna is perhaps the most famous and representative dish of Italy abroad and is here interpreted with broccoli
To accompany these dishes are excellent local wines from the Comino Valley and you can choose from among the famous Cabernet DOC of Atina or rediscover the native vines with the Maturano and Pampanaro produced by the cellar Poggio alla Meta di Casalvieri.
Obviously in the market you can also buy fresh broccoli to try inventing some new original recipe at home. Then you can send the recipe to the committee that will try it out next year!