Acquaviva di Isernia Bean

Ark of taste
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The Acquaviva bean is grown at 500 to 750 m elevation, on the first pre-apennine reliefs, in the area of the Volturno river basin. Historically, best results can be achieved in crops along the Rio stream, one of the Volturno river tributaries. The fertile, water-rich soil favours the development of starch in the seeds, and decreases the thickness of the seed coat. Production of Acquaviva beans is native to the Molise, and can be traced back to two ecotypes selected over the centuries by local farmers. The ecotype called “confetto” (sugar almond) is white like the sweet, has a shape similar to a large pearl, its pod is light-coloured, large and long. Next to the “confetto” type, there are other ecotypes like the yellow bean, a beige-coloured kidney bean, and the “della Regina” (Queen’s) bean, the largest, white and flat. The seed, a priceless heritage of memory, has been passed down for generations.
It is sown in the first ten days of June, with 2 or 3 seeds per hole, at 3-5 cm depth, in furrows 40-45 cm apart. Plants are 10-15 cm distant from one another. It prefers drained and loose soil. It requires weekly irrigation, hoeing and weeding, no phytosanitary treatment, but it does need fertilising, preferably organic. The developing growths must be supported with rods. Harvest is done by hand between the end of September-start of October, when the plants reach a certain degree of dryness, and is completed by tending to the drying process of the various pods. This is followed by shelling and manual calibration using large mesh sieves.
The bean is high quality, and it is sought after as it is extremely easy to cook, and it is creamy with a delicate flavour. The product is easy to pair with fish-based dishes. Traditionally, it was cooked in a terracotta pot next to the fireplace. The traditional Acquaviva recipe is “sagn e fascuol”, a simple and humble dish of the local cuisine that combines handmade, eggless pasta with the creamy flavour of the bean, in this case the yellow ecotype, along with fried onions.

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Production area:Acquaviva d’Isernia

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Nominated by:Angelo Sciaudone