Despite the scarcity of resources, the local gastronomy favors the preparation of strong flavors. The basis of the daily diet includes local agricultural products (vegetables, legumes, potatoes, cereals, and pork products).
In the past, the traditional condiment was mostly pork fat and lard, which was preserved in the bladder of the animal. Today it has been replaced by olive oil. Among the traditional dishes of Castelpoto are the pìttulo and the menèstra mmaritata. The first is a corn focaccia cooked on a local stone over an open flame. It was prepared every night and eaten when still hot, together with boiled vegetables and beans, especially wild chicory. The latter is made of wild field greens (chicory, borage), boiled with pieces of pork (ears, feet, rind, lung sausages, and nnoglia—pig’s stomach cut in strips and stuffed in the esophagus—flavored with garlic, hot pepper and fennel seeds and left to simmer. To provide a refined touch, the bone of an aged prosciutto is added).

Gastronomia Castelpoto

Red sausage of Castelpoto

The red sausage represents a particularity of Castelpoto, among the most representative, so much so that on April 25 the town dedicates a renowned festival-market to it. Pig farming is still conducted in the traditional way: the local races, originally black (black pigs from Caserta), were bred over time with newer white races, resulting in pigs with fleeced skin that are used for the sausage production. In addition to the original recipe, specified in the Slow Food chapter, in Castelpoto there isn’t only one type of sausage. Every family has passed on its own recipe to the next generations. The variations are infinite: with garlic, with minced garlic water, with white or red wine flavored with garlic, with fennel seed powder, with coarse or grinded pepper, and with every possible variation in mixing these aromas. The principal ingredient that is always used is the red powder produced from the papàulo, a round, spicy red pepper. The processing is particularly laborious and complex. You start by selecting prime pork meats (prosciutto, shoulder, pancetta …), removing nerves and fat, and grinding them coarsely.

The meat is mixed, salted, and the necessary ingredients are added. To allow for a perfect blending of the aromas, the meat is left to rest for a certain period. Intestines are used for the sausage making and still today, the process is carried out by hand. The ageing of the sausage takes place in wood-heated rooms where constant temperature is maintained. The sausage can be consumed either fresh, cooked on the grill, or in ragù used for handmade pasta (fusilli, cecatielli …). It can also be consumed aged and accompanied with wood-oven baked bread.

La salsiccia rossa di Castelpoto