Following the exciting trade fairs of the last few weeks such as Fiera Cavalli (in Verona, ITA), Spoga Horse (in Cologne, GER) and Salon Du Cheval (in Paris, FRA), Alberto Fasciani is now going back to Campotosto, the beautiful town in the Abruzzo region, to visit the Gran Sasso National Park and Monti della Laga.
The goal is to explore and describe another thrilling local tradition: Nonna Ina and the Mortadella of Campotosto.
Nonna Ina is the result of passion, dedication and commitment that Madam Venturina Ponzi, born in 1916, showed through the traditional and genuine techniques of processing pigs.
Madam Venturina Ponzi was born during the I° World War and she was one of the first women to devote herself to the making of the popular Mortadella – also known as “coioni di mulo” (mule balls) – that quickly became a culinary local icon due to its unique features.
The evolution of its processing techniques throughout the years was aimed at enhancing the flavour while rigorously maintaining the handmade production as per tradition. The combination of old handmade techniques of production and innovation resulted in the introduction of extraordinary new meals that are linked to each other by the same common ingredient: tradition.
Madam Venturina handed down her knowledge to her son Pandolfo Pandolfi who is driven by the same passion for recipes and food processing methods: “The Mortadella has the taste of those winters spent sitting by the fireplace whilst the wind of storms knocks at the door!”
Man and nature are strictly connected in the process of making pigs: winds do the hard work as they – patiently assisted by suffused beech fires – add smells and fragrancies that delight even the most demanding palates.
This is the reason why the making of pigs cannot but be a seasonal occurrence: most of the making process occurs in the coldest months when the meat slowly ripe in the basement, in perfect harmony with the seasons as a rhythmic dance whose harmony involves man and nature.
The perfect salting, the abundance of black pepper and the soft smell of smoked beech wood allow to taste this delicious product as cold cuts.
Over the years, homemade productions were no longer allowed. Thus, the new Nonna Ina Lab was born in via Piave in Campotosto.
Although Venturina and Pandolfo passed away long time ago, they have passed on this precious “inheritance” – in terms of knowledge, methodology, old teaching techniques – to a young Italian man, Mr. Ugo Paolini who founded – along with Goffredo Pandolfi - Nonna Ina snc.
Nonna Ina snc.’s production system is now fully developed to keep up with the times but their creed and passion are the same as in the old days.
In 2002 the Mortadella of Campotosto became member of the no-profit “Slow Food” association which aims at giving back the right value to food and its manufacturers. The final goal is to live in harmony with the environment and the ecosystem by passing on the most fundamental and traditional principles to the next generations.
Nonna Ina is a small business of the new millenium that look with young eyes at her grandma’s work.
The one carried out by Ugo is a new kind of business: from 2017 he took on the leadership of the Nonna Ina sas with resourcefulness and enthusiasm. Ugo managed to realize his dreams while showing respect for nature and by aiming at genuine goals, not just in economic terms but also in terms of quality of its products and promotion of the local and traditional goods.
“Although it may not be the best time for Campotosto, I love my job and I still have several projects in progress. Actually, the passion and love for my land is what drives me every day and gives me that extra energy to keep on living and working here, in my land. I never thought about leaving – continues Ugo Paolini – I try to give food the right importance but I also want to pass on emotions and pleasures through the enjoyment of healthy and genuine flavours.”
Find Nonna Ina on Facebook here