Porro di Cervere
When you think of leeks you’re probably thinking of the large, garden variety found at your local green grocer’s… unless you’re in the know about the tall, thin stalks of tender white gold; then you’re thinking of Porro di Cervere!
Cultivated in Cervere, in the province of Cuneo, these leeks have a flavour that is sweeter and more delicate than the leeks you may be used to.
They feature a much longer white portion, which is a result of the producers’ dedication and skill. The seeds are usually planted between March/April and then, in June/July they are transplanted into rows with 1 meter between each plant.
September is when the real work begins: this is the stage when the plants undergo a process known as hilling or trenching. This is done repeatedly throughout the growing season and involves surrounding each plant with a hill or trench of soil.
This increases and encourages the growth of a longer stem and keeps the lower portion of the leek paler and very tender.
The leeks begin to reach maturity starting in October and harvesting begins. Leeks harvested in autumn are easily stored all winter long; the most important thing is that they are protected from light and extreme temperatures.
Porro di Cervere is low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals (A, B, B2, C and Iron), and packed with flavour that sets it apart from its similar counterparts onions and garlic.
In 1996, a consortium was established to promote these leeks since they were unfortunately another PAT production at risk.
Today the consortium uses a symbol to identify and guarantee both the origin and the quality of its products; this is important as this variety accounts for more than two-thirds of the Piedmont region’s overall production of leeks. Over the years, the consortium has also raised awareness on this Cervere specialty's characteristics, raising market demand and consenting investments to preserve this variety.
If your mouth is starting to water at the idea of risotto ai porri (risotto with leeks) or a savoury tart filled with leeks, you should consider a trip to the annual Fiera del Porro held in November. Producers show off their skills and visitors can taste an incredible variety of leek-based dishes.
Porro di Cervere represents not only the excellence that Italy is so well-known for in terms of taste and quality, but even more so, the excellence that comes from the strong ties to traditional methods. Lovingly preserved and passed down from one generation to the next, these could never be replicated by machines.
This is what makes Porro di Cervere worth its weight in tender, white gold.Any suggestions?
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