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Fagiolo “Dente di Morto”

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Cannellini beans “Dente di Morto” of Acerra, in the province of Naples, are one of the most interesting ecotype beans of Campania and have become a Slow Food Presidium. The farming business of the area is historically linked to its numerous water course, Regi Lagni, which cross fields bordering the territory.
The canon Andrea Sarnataro, author of a daily report of all Acerra’s events from 1736 to 1771, who describes also the agricultural products of the area, mentions many times the white cannellini beans in contrast with  the “mostrati” ones (in the local dialect this is the term used to refer to “blackeye beans”).
The descriptions of the beans’ plantations in the rustic areas of Acerra are present in many texts about the history of the city, but the most interesting one is about the so called “dente di morto” bean, which is in the “Guida Gastronomica d’Italia” published by the Touring Club Italiano of 1931. Like many other varieties of beans, the “dente di morto” was widely spread in its area of production, agro acerrano, till some decades ago. The beans have been for decades one of the basic elements of farmers’ diets, a fact which has been represented by Annibale Carracci in his well-known painting «The Bean Eater» (1580-1590).
This species is characterised by bushy plants with green vines and it is traditionally sawn during April and July, in order to have two harvest times. It is cultivated according to ancient traditions and environmentally friendly practices. The beans have a thin peal and are quickly cooked, thanks to the cultivation on volcanic soils rich in nutrients. Their intense taste and mellowness have made them a characteristic element of the Neapolitan gastronomy.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

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