The Nucetto Chickpea
The chickpea (Latyrus sativus) is a pulse originating from the East, which in the past was widely cultivated in the area of the Tanaro valley, as it provided a food of great nutritional value, even in arid soil conditions. Chickpea cultivation began in early March, with seed planting and continued to June, when the plants which are at this stage totally yellowed, are taken to the farm and allowed to dry in the typical bunches. At the end of the drying process the seed is separated from the pod, by means of a mechanical threshing process and it can either be packed in its original state or send for milling for the production of chickpea flour. The most suitable form of milling being that using a stone grinder, as it does not overheat the flour and so does not alter its lipid and vitamin contents. Furthermore stone milling favours the crushing of the core that promotes the escape of the precious germ oil that impregnates the flour.
|Nutritional values per 100 g||raw||Cooked|
|% calories from carbohydrates||%||65||65|
|%calories from protein||%||21||21|
|% calories from fat||%||14||14|
Area of production
Nucetto and bordering communes located in the Tanaro valley.
The history of the chickpea is closely linked to the historic event that takes place in Nucetto to mark the celebration of the Assumption. According to tradition, during the 50’s in order to relieve the local economy of a small village a butcher and a tradesman came together to organize a festival in order to attract a larger number of tourists during the summer. It was in this way that the chickpea was chosen a san original local feature that would distinguish the event from other similar ones in the area. Although the free chickpea distribution was not advertised it attracted a large crowd. With everyone standing up and helping themselves from a large cauldron in the manner of gypsies so that the event was re-named “the gypsy style chickpea event”. The success of the event was more than anyone could imagine and each year it attracts lager crowds. So that today the event is seen as an opportunity for the cooking of over one and a half quintals of chickpeas together with “cotechini” (typical Italian pork sausages) that are served to the crowd by girls dressed as gypsies.
In order to enhance and protect this typical product an Association has been founded in Nucetto for the Protection and Enhancement of the Nucetto chickpea as well as other products of the Tanaro valley that are protected by the Consortium for the enhancement and protection of the typical products of the Upper Tanaro valley, which has adopted a specific production discipline and its own brand name for the products that it represents.