We’re in Varese Ligure today, a small pretty town in Liguria, just a few kilometers from the border with Emilia Romagna and just a few steps from Cinque Terre.
I wasn’t expecting tourists even in such a small and remote town in the mountains but probably I was too optimistic with the flood of foreigners that every summer invade our country from Northern Europe.
Anyways, I haven’t started this post to talk about tourists, although someone should raise the topic one day. I’m here to talk about a special wooden, hand made, craved stamp that I managed to put my hands on: the croxetti stamp. It’s not just a small piece of wood though. It’s much more than that. It’s used to make an ancient, traditional pasta dish that was saved from oblivion by a brave, old man in his retirement the moment he started to crave again croxetti.
I don’t want to take any credit about the history of croxetti, and I’ll just copy the excerpt that Mr. Pietro Picetti gave us in a xerocopied sheet of papers in multiple languages, English included.
“Croxetti” are the main dish of Varesina cooking. “Croxetti” story is very ancient and all we know is that every family had them for holidays and other special days.
It’s said that a noble family gave hospitality and cooked them for Maria Luigia of Borbone, who was heading to France to get married to Napoleone Bonaparte.
The cutters for the Croxetti were different in size and engraving; some simple, some other elaborate, but the main reason for them was to leave a sign on the pasta: the drawings allowed the pasta to take up more sauce, and the pressure to make them prevented the pasta from overcooking easily.
Noble families used personalized stamps, most of the times with the coat of arms of the family itself on one side.
Both Goldilocks and I got the croxetti stamp, unfortunately without our coats of arms, but I’m pretty sure they’ll serve us well nonethless. When we’ll come back we’ll make the pasta and give you the recipe (which is again, credit to Mr. Piero Picetti).