The food affects our health, we know it and the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach already had this vision in the XVIIIth century and he used to say “you are what you eat”. This well-known statement has been used by anyone seeking for a relation between the food and the health. Nowadays we all know it is true and we look for the places where the typical products bring back many interesting stories.
Let’s start with our sweet journey to discover one of the most amazing products of nature, the honey. It helps you when you have a cough, it heals the little wounds, it hydrates your chapped lips and we all know its relaxing properties when it is contained in the herbal teas we sip before going to sleep. The best honey is produced in the mountains where the air is clean and fresh. We suggest you to taste the one from the Dolomites around Belluno, it’s production started in the XVIth century, it became a Doc product in 2010 and it is based in the village of Limana. A festival is held there in Autumn and the best honey is awarded with a prize and tourists and visitors can taste all the products that are made from honey. If you fancy having an entire meal from honey the local people will suggest you to taste the potatoes gnocchi (a type of pasta) with the honey and the ginger, the rabbit meat with chestnuts and honey and the caramel figgy ice-cream.
In the villages of Friuli where people still live in beautiful little houses made of stones and wood, you can focus your attention on the honey vinegar. It’s a Pat (traditional food product) coming from Carnia whose therapeutic uses have been known since the ancient times. All grandmas there know that a tea-spoon a day in Spring will wake your body up, will balance your stomach and your intestine, will prevent the rheumatic pains and will heal your allergies. It will also make your hair and skin brighter and it will help you in the kitchen with a little effort. The sweet and sour sauce for instance is made by using the same quantity of apple cider vinegar, sugar and flour, a hint of ginger and the cloves.
In the valley of Southern Trentino Riva Del Garda deserves a stop to take part in a festival that is called “Garda con gusto” (Garda with taste) which is a real ode to carne salada (salted meat). It is one of the very few salami accepted by dieticians since it is rich of proteins and it is also low in fat. Its spicy taste is unique. It was born in the XVth century because of some conservation needs. Nowadays the techniques have improved but the production is quite similar to the old one. The beef without the fat is covered in the salt and the spice and it is kept in a dry environment for 2 or 5 weeks. A different type of meat, less famous but very tasty is the carne fumada (smoked meat) from Val di Cembra. In both cases the local cookbooks are full of raw and cooked ways to prepare it.
Let’s move to the raw cereals and the legumes, the nutritionists’ best combination. They are rich of fibres, mineral salts and proteins and they help the intestinal activity, they increase the satiety and they adjust the blood glucose and the cholesterol. In this case we are interested in the readers’ taste so we must suggest a number of specialties like the Igp spelt from Garfagnana, a specialty from Tuscany to be used in the soups and in the salads together with the Igp (guarantee of origin) lentils from Castelluccio di Norcia in Umbria or the Dop (Denomination of protected origin) white beans from Rotonda in Basilicata. We can fill ourselves up with vitamins if we go towards the South by choosing the lemons from Sorrento in Campania as well as the ones from Puglia from the Gargano area or the ones coming from the area of Rocca Imperiale in Calabria or the ones from Messina.
In Sicily there are the Igp red oranges from the area of Francoforte and Lentini in Sicily. All this citrus fruit is perfect for the recipes with pasta, fish or meat and for the very tasty desserts too. We can finally flavour everything with a little salt, just a little to prevent the hypertension and enjoy all the properties of the mineral salts. So let’s chose the sea salt from Sant'Antioco, the island of Sardinia with a very old history that is one of the main destinations for the tasty travellers who are willing to discover one of the most ancient routes of salt.