I live in a very small mountain village 1,200 m high in Val Germanasca, also called Valle Oscura because it is landlocked, and it is in the municipality of Perrero in the province of Turin. We are also across to the Val Chisone which leads to Sestriere, known by all. The village where I live is called Granero and is inhabited all year round by 6 people, 4 of whom are part of my family. It took me 3 years to choose a house and when I saw the 360 degree panorama I had no doubt.
Ours is a special story because first we lived in Turin then, both my wife and I lost our jobs, so we moved to the mountains. A choice dictated more by the heart than by the rationality of the moment.
In this place we have begun to live immersed in nature and inebriated by these mountain areas with their fairytale landscapes. In a short time we created a food and wine cultural circle and a small farm, Azienda Agricola Borgata Granero , for the cultivation and harvesting of medicinal herbs and promoted the territory on Social Fb. and Instagram .
My cuisine draws on raw materials and ingredients almost exclusively grown in these mountains. We make dishes with unexpected combinations and flavours that blend together in a single gustatory emotion. What helped me a lot is that I am a curious person, who documents himself on the history of the place where he lives and on the culture. I discovered that about 400 meters from the house are the ruins of a church built by the Benedictine monks, between 996 and 1046 AD.
And the path that passes near my house is called Cammino dei Monaci precisely because through this path they reached their small monastery. At this point I absolutely had to know more.
And after some time I managed to find a couple of manuscripts where there were written some recipes prepared by the monks. Dishes with simple but particular ingredients such as the 1,000 year old Prato soup. A soup prepared with 9 different wild herbs, chestnuts, porcini mushrooms and ancient wheat.
A dish that takes you by the hand and accompanies you through the meadows ready to be cut into hay, where you can smell the scents of hay, and then along the path until you enter the woods where the mushrooms and chestnuts make you feel their aromas unmistakable. A dish perhaps not traditional because it has been forgotten over time. But a dish that despite everything brings you to the reality of how incredible the combination of ingredients defined as poor but immediately rich in flavour and history is.
Ingredients for the Granero Soup of the Fields
These are the ingredients that are collected in the meadows between mid-May and late June and which make this dish a seasonal soup.
- Blackberry sprouts (green ones taken from brambles)
- Borage leaves
- Watercress, which grows near the springs
- Thyme Serpillo
- 1 glass of previously cooked wheat
- Crumbled chestnuts
- Porcini mushrooms
- Cream that comes from the Bergeria
First, a vegetable broth is prepared with wild carrots, spring onion and wild celery. The herbs are then added according to their cooking time so as not to disperse their flavour. Then the chestnuts are added(a little crumbled and a little whole so as not to lose consistency), the porcini mushrooms and the cooked wheat (or 5 cereals). Finally, the fresh cream from the Bergeria is added.
And for the garnish, chopped hazelnuts and wildflowers are added such as the ‘Pope’s medals’, pansies, dandelions and clover flowers. A dish that is beautiful to see and taste.
Especially in front of the panorama of the Val Germanasca. You are all invited to experience this emotion. I get excited every day.