Today we’re talking about capers from Pantelleria, tiny but very rich in flavour. But there’s more, we’ll also discover caper berries, caper leaves and the caper production farm that brings Pantelleria’s tradition to the world. Ready to go?
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SAN DANIELE TROUT: TRADITION ACCORDING TO FRIULTROTA
What is lacking in an Italian smoked trout as compared to a Norwegian or Scottish smoked salmon? The answer is nothing, we can assure you. Yes, salmon has a distinctive flavour, which could probably be perceived as oilier to the palate, and its quality and processing methods differ depending on the country of production. However, the trout has become a worthy competitor, especially thanks to the incredible work carried out by Friultrota and by the Pighin family.
The path to success
The San Daniele trout’s quality was officially recognized in 2000, when it obtained the traditional Italian regional food product (PAT) certification. The ‘Queen’ - a fish incredibly high in Omega-3, living in the Tagliamento River - managed to gain a foothold in the San Daniele municipality, which is renowned for the famous dry-cured ham.
The trout from Friuli has an incredible taste conferred by the prime-quality waters where fishes live. This trout is skilfully and naturally smoked, acquiring a unique flavour encompassing all the notes of woods and aromatic herbs. The smoke and aromas are not supposed to cover the flavour of the fish, but rather enhance its features and balance out its aromas; only by doing so, can one reach an enveloping and delectable flavour.
Thanks to a long research and hard work, the smoked San Daniele trout has started to become a staple in great chefs’ cuisines and gourmet shops.
This success is due to the endeavours of Mauro Pighin. He was once the owner of a concrete company with a fishing hobby, but he managed to become a talented smoked trout artisan, setting and reaching a very important goal with his company Friultrota: raising the status of smoked trout, which was considered a pale imitation of smoked salmon, and producing it according to very high quality standards.
Friultrota’s artisan processing
Friultrota’s products are characterised by an extremely high quality of both end products and raw materials. Everything started from a small artificial lake where friends used to gather to fish together and have some fun. Their ambitions grew, as the days went by they got a little bit closer to their dreams and, thirty years on, the company founded a low stocking density fish farm, where fishes can prosper in a very healthy habitat without being force-fed, following their natural course.
Perhaps this description is not clear enough for non-experts, so I will compare it to intensive fish farming to make it more understandable: Friultrota rears 15kg of fish per cubic meter, whereas intensive farming rears 100kg of fish.
It is hence easy to understand why the quality of this fish, as well as its cost, is high. The ‘Queen of San Daniele’ is more expensive than all those common products that you may find in the supermarket, retailing for 2€ per 100g. Non-intensive farming, whether it involves fishes, pigs, cattle or any type of animal, focuses on quality and not on profit maximisation.
Let’s go back to Friultrota. Following the same logic applied for fish farming, every processing step is carried out according to tradition with a great attention to details.
Moreover, Mauro Pighin had what we could call a Eureka moment and decided to make ready-to-serve smoked trout; deboning a fish is indeed hard and not everyone can do it. That’s how the ‘Queen of San Daniele’ was born: a cold-smoked trout fillet, without preservatives nor colouring agents, which is salted and deboned exclusively by hand and smoked with actual smoke.
Here are the processing steps that Friultrota undertakes to make San Daniele smoked trout:
- Dry salting by hand
- Smoked with natural smoke from woods, berries and aromatic herbs; both hot and cold smoking processes are applied depending on the product type
- Deboning by hand (of every fish bone, including the diagonal fish bones which are removed with tweezers, one by one!)
- Finishing step
photo credits: Friultrota
San Daniele smoked trout: food pairings
Needless to say, the San Daniele smoked trout can easily replace smoked salmon in many recipes, at time making them even more flavourful and genuine. So get creative and add it to salads and canapés with butter. Use trout for a delicious filling for fresh pasta, which we suggest dressing with artichoke sauce. Or you can use it as an alternative to pork jowl for a revisited Carbonara pasta sauce.
It’s safe to say that, thanks to Friultrota’s work, the fame of this delicacy from Friuli spread far beyond its region and trout has now become a product for fine palates that are able to recognise and enjoy a wholesome high-quality product.
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