Thanks to the nearby lake, Trevignano Romano has a gastronomic tradition that is mainly based on lake fish, such as perch, sole, Caspian-sand smelt, tench and eel: these ingredients form the basis of typical local dishes like fish soup.
The city of Trevignano has plenty of vineyards and olive groves and has a wide range of vegetables, especially tomatoes, while the lakeside is also dotted with orange and lemon trees.
Known as “li dorci della Befana”, “mostaccioli” and “rognose” cookies are wrapped up during the period after new year for Epiphany to be given to children. The recipe for“de li mostaccioli” needs 1 kg of honey, to be diluted with a little hot water, then add the flour, enough for it to be absorbed by the honey, and a pinch of pepper. Knead it on a cool dry surface until it becomes a fairly firm dough, but do not overwork the mixture. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 cm and with a rhomboid-shaped wooden cutter to cut the “mostaccioli”. Put them on a baking tray greased with oil or lard and put them in the oven. The recipe for“rognose” needs flour, sugar, oil, wine, a pinch of bicarbonate of soda and a smattering of aniseed. Form all the ingredients into a dough and cut it into small chunks, which are then flattened by hand until they are thick and long strips, then curl them round to form a circle with a hole in the middle. Each biscuit is then dipped in the wine and then in the sugar and then put on a baking tray ready to go into the oven.
"The olive harvest” in the autumn is done by 15-20 “women”, mainly young girls, who traditionally meet under the portico of the town before dawn. They carry a basket with a “pezzo de pà” (piece of bread) which, along with a few olives gathered during the harvest, makes up their miserable meal of the day [...] They sing as they walk the three kilometres to get to the groves, their voices chime with the clang of their metal capped shoes known as “‘mbullettate”. Once they reach Vicarello, on the lands of the Austrian-Hungarian college, the charge hand, or “caporale”, the person who recruited them, is already waiting. He is the person who oversees their work and given them their pay. Small groups are assigned the various areas for picking: “Oncavò”, “Crognolinaro”, “Acqua delle donne” and “Mulinaro”. In the meantime, the men have climbed up on ladders to “a mogne l’olive”: shake the olives from the branches into a sack that is kept open by a metal ring attached to their belt. But many olives fall to the ground, joining those that have fallen naturally and it is these that the women collect, bending over double or even kneeling. They are paid “a third”: namely a third of the value of the olives they have gathered or its equivalent in olive oil. This kind of incentive means the work gets done quickly, with the girls holding competitions to see who is the fastest, using both hands to collect the olives without pause. The quantity of olives gathered is weighed with the “pescuja” and noted in a register to calculate their wages. This is a tiring job, especially as it is done between November and February in the cold and the biting wind. Once the harvest is over, even though there may have been several months gap between collections, there is a big party with pasta, “Rigatò cò lo sugo”, beans with onions “facioli cò la cipolla” and bread and sausages “pane e sarciccia” and the final dance, for women only. Some return in the following days for what’s called the “busca”: gathering the few olives that may have accidentally been left lying on the ground, which they keep for themselves. Recipe: chickpea soup
Even though there is not a hugely developed chickpea production in this area, they are nevertheless a basic ingredient used by many Trevignano Romano families.
The soupd was made with dried chickpeas which were left to soak overnight. In the morning, change the water and boil over a moderate heat, adding hot water every so often. When the chickpeas are almost cooked, dress with olive oil, a pinch of salt, a few bits of ripe tomato, a spring of Rosemary ( “sdrammarino”) and garlic and continue cooking them, adding the paste, preferably broken up pieces of spaghetti. When bought pasta was still a luxury, they made a pasta at home with water and flour and would make “gnocchetti” or “longarucci”, cut into short and rather fat shapes.
Other typical dishes are: beans with fennel, acquacotta which is a kind of bread soup and marinated fish.
Other staple item in the farming economy here is the tomato, grown in different varieties, and during Fascism, the production was so fruitful that they even ended up exporting tomatoes. Local produce
Lake eels – lake fish
Extra virgin olive oil
Roman “tonda gentile” hazelnuts
Tarquinia D.O.C. wine
Seasonal festive sweets and cakes
Places to see:
Etruscan-Roman Civic Museum