Panigacci, Testaroli and Testaieu

You can find traditional dishes from Lunigiana to Val Graveglia


Panigacci or Testarol are one of many. Around this area one can immediately sense how blurred regional boundaries are and how strong the boundaries of taste and tradition are. The truth is that panigacci and testaroli are cousins, descendants of the poor cuisine of the same land: La Lunigiana.

Of his majesty the Testarolo, we can tell you that there are two different descendants.

Pontremoli’s testarolo, the most famous and best known to most, comes in the form of a large disc of dough, cooked in large cast-iron disc, easy to cut into squares. It is quickly blanched in salted water and topped with pesto or oil and cheese.

In the lower Val di Magra, on the other hand, if you say Testaroli one immediately thinks of the small cast-iron pots! In the town of Sarzana and the neighboring town of Castelnuovo Magra the batter of water flour and salt is cooked on a cast-iron testo, previously greased with a half potato soaked in oil, turned on two sides. So tender, all it takes is a fork and you can roll it on itself and bite into the core filled with pesto or oil and cheese.

Watch out now not to confuse His Majesty Testarolo with Prince Panigaccio!

As Podenzana is its own palace you can taste the real Panigaccio here, the one whose thick batter of water, flour and salt is poured by skilled hands into small glowing terracotta pots. After filling them they are stacked on top of each other and thanks to the heat of the glowing terracotta pots or the proximity of the fire they cook to perfection.

As soon as they are removed from the pots, the Panigaccio ends up on the table along with cold cuts and cheese. Even today, often the spirit of recovery of poor cuisine means that panigacci leftovers from dinner are thrown into boiling water and cooked as if they were pasta the next day. Drained and seasoned to taste with pesto, oil and cheese or meat sauce: here is boiled Panigaccio!

Furthermore, in the upper Graveglia Valley they used to prepare “Fugasin di Megà” made with cornmeal and cooked on a bed of leaves. A very poor food that was eaten by the local population as breakfast before going to pasture or into the vegetable gardens.

Likewise in Val Graveglia, in the municipality of Ne, testaieu are made using almost in the same way as panigacci, with the difference that testetti are a little deeper in the center with the result that testaieu remain convex, softer and a little more raw in the center. The use is also different, resembling in its use more the Sarzana testarolo, it is served topped with pesto, oil and cheese and oil and garlic.

Tradition tells us that the warmth of the “testetti” was also regained, which once used for food preparation and which were wrapped in a cloth and placed under blankets to give some warmth during the cold winter nights.

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