Sundays and religious festivities are a good occasion to understand a bit of culture of Valle d’Itria. Sundays is the day of the rest from the weekly activity, the day in which the majority of families go to church to repent of their sins. It is a day of celebration! The church bells spread their loud sound starting from seven in the morning. Men and women go out dressed in their best clothes, that they show off in the main square where they hang-out to chat with friends, and walk up and down the central stream like in a parade. Around midday the ladies return home to finish preparing the Sunday’s rich lunch that had a bit of preparation also at early morning. Around lunch time the tiny streets of the old towns are literally invaded by a variation of good smell of sugo, the tomato sauce cooked for at least one our with big portions of meat and olive oil.
Sundays also reflect the strict combination between religion celebrations and food: no vegetables, no fave, no cicorie are allowed, those are considered “poor food”, ok only for a “normal” day but not appropriate for Sundays; a religious festivity must be honored also at lunch table with the best food. And what is it considered to be the best food for a Sunday? Definitely a king-size piatto di orecchiette al sugo di carne !! Orecchiette is the the local home-made fresh pasta that every woman can make with a fast upward movement of a knife on the egde of a small cylinder of fresh pasta made with wheat and water only.
The second dish is meat or meat balls (polpette) topped up with the same tomato sauce in which they have been boiled. Local red wine wine is poured in abundance so that it is not unusual that soon after the rich Sunday meals men go to bed for a good long nap, a refreshing “pennichella” that helps the longer digestion 🙂
In the video below, the trick to make a perfect orecchietta revealed in a slow motion movie. Watch carefully: