For me, Paliano has an air of spring and change: colours, flavours and aromas. It guards from childhood, my past and my future.
If there is one thing that I remember clearly from the years of my wonderful childhood, it is the sharing of times, colours and scents of the countryside. A countryside of rolling hills.
I have always lived in the countryside. Here I live, my parents, uncles and cousins and my grandparents lived here … and it is from them that I want to start the story of one of the most beautiful periods of my life: childhood.
Since I was a child I have had the pleasure of “getting my hands dirty” with the earth. Also to learn many things from the “grandparents” who tirelessly cultivated and cared for the land they had purchased with the first post-war earnings.
With the dream of a safe home and an increasingly bright future.
And this atmosphere of dreams and goals was what I breathed in those years (perhaps also because of the carefree age then). I was pervaded by a pleasant tranquility and the awareness that the future would be better. That the family was that safe haven where I could always take refuge and that, for better or for worse, we had a piece of land to cultivate.
We had it and therefore we would never be “starving”.
It was therefore necessary to learn “to grow the vegetable garden, look after the animals, prepare the preserves and more”.
This was what my grandfather said to me and to my cousins, with whom we shared the adventure of discovering the world and our town in which we lived as children. The ties are and will always be alive even if some are distant today.
Once one arrived at the door of our grandmother’s house, one thing was certain: at any time of the day I went to visit her, her hands were busy “working” something: pasta, bread, cakes and delicious tarts.
All her recipes were jealously kept in the green cover book, constantly updated over time and which I still keep in my cupboard today.
Among the many delicacies, half Ciociarian and half Calabrian that grandmother prepared in solidarity with our grandfather, who had moved from Locri to Paliano at a young age, I want to tell you about that delicious jam made of sweet and sour cherries from the plants of the vegetable garden.
Each year, her industrious hands patiently packed about fifty jars of jam, all rigorously with a tin cap covered with crochet and cross-stitched cap covers.
Today I want to tell you her secret ingredients to share with you the unmistakable aroma and the unique flavour of her jam which, combined with the shortcrust pastry, gave rise to the renowned “Elide tart”.
The doses for the tart are those from the green book and the ingredients are:
- 400 gr flour,
- 300 gr sugar,
- 150 gr butter,
- 3 yolks,
- 1 whole egg,
- A pinch of baking powder.
Try it and let me know if it arouses the same feelings for you.
When I feel the need for security and to immerse myself in the peace of the Palianese countryside, that’s where I go: into the house of Grandma Elide. I can see Paliano in all its beauty and distinguish the medieval village immersed in the green hills, where olive groves, orchards and vines alternate with homes.
I go back to the roots even if I live in the same town because roots do not just mean something far away. We all have roots but only the luckiest can hear them.
They can help us experience the emotion of feeling part of a story, a perfume, a colour or a flavour from which to draw the great strength that leads us to face the present without fear. Maybe knowing how to deal with fear.
Because we are already the roots for our children.
We are already passing on to others the traditions and we are giving them a part of the strength of our roots.
That’s why I wanted to share Grandma Elide’s recipe. Because I want to give back this force that I received. Because together it will be easier to go to face the future.