Sicilian Fish in Tuscany

08 Oct 2010

Valdarno and Siena convivia have been promoting the Slow Food philosophy and their local producers in central Tuscany since 1998, but for their next event they decided to bring a taste of Sicilian seafood traditions to their region. Being held over October 8 – 9, the Aspettando Terra Madre event is hosting the food community of fishermen from the Pachino Gulf Cooperative, who will attend the international Terra Madre gathering later this month. These fishermen continue the small-scale fishing traditions of Portopalo di Capo Passero, Sicily’s most southern point, and will be the stars of the event along with their quality, sought-after products.

The cooperative has played a significant role in the recovery and safeguarding of the Magghia Masculina anchovy that was on the brink of extinction, in particular through forming a Slow Food Presidium. In Sicilian dialect, ‘magghia’ refers to the mesh of the fishing nets and the anchovy owes its name to the distinctive way by which it is caught: the small heads of the fish get caught in the holes of the net, causing some bleeding that produces a tastier and highly valued product.

The fishermen will lead a workshop on fish preserving techniques on Friday October 8, passing on their skills and providing a glimpse into their lives as small-scale fishers. The fishermen’s products and fresh catch will then be available at the Montevarchi Earth Market – on Friday in their producer’s shop and on Saturday at the Seasonal Market in the town square. Pre-orders can also be made by e-mailing [email protected].

The event will come to a grand close with a dinner held at the evocative Badia Abbey outside of Sienna, where diners will be able to savor the freshly caught Magghia Masculina as well as wild clams, octopus and several other fish.

If the sound of ‘Ammarinata ri masculina, lambuca e palamitu cu ‘nzalata d’aranci e cipudduzza’ (marinated Magghia Masculina anchovies, dolphin-fish and Plain Bonito with a salad of oranges and chives) entices you, find out more on the convivium’s website:

Photo: Magghia Masculina Presidium
© Paolo Montanaro

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