Claut Cinquantino Giallo Corn

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Corn growing started catching on in Friuli region in the late 16th century, and in the early 17th century it was already a popular crop, whose production was way more abundant than any other cereal. Since this species was so highly malleable, it was then possible to select some varieties that managed to fit in different soils; some other varieties, with a short growth cycle, were also selected, in order to sow them, even after the autumn-winter cereal harvest. These varieties are also known as quarantine or cinquantine (40 or 50 type variety): because of the Friuli’s weather, these do not ripe in forty or fifty days. For instance, cinquantino corn is used as green fodder for livestok after 50 days. The yellow cinquantino kernels (also known as marameo) are intensly yellow, almost orange, spherical, with no rostrum, and a vitreous structure. The cob of the corn is white. The stalk is cone-shaped. The corncob is 12 cm long, tops, with 14-16 kernel rows. The plant is 160 cm tall on average. It is sown in May, as soon as the weather allows to; the sowing ground must receive organic fertilizers only. The cinquantino corn growing usually alternates with leguminous plants. The corn is harvested by hand because of the reduced size of the parcels where this corn variety is grown. The seeds are picked by hand, by pinpointing the plants that best withstood bad weather, with no pathogens and that were not attacked by parasites. The cobs are sundried and then preserved in air-conditioned rooms. Cinquantino corn was used in many different ways in the kitchen: to prepare biscuits, as well as the traditional pan di sorc (a Slow Food Presidium today) and polenta. The latter was not just an ordinary kind of food, but it was quintessential for this farming land, therefore it was prepared in several different ways and consumed many times during the day. It could be prepared as polenta e lat bulì (polenta boiled in milk) and polenta and butter in Val Cellina. Water, salt, flour, previously boiled potatoes and beans were directly cooked in the same cauldron in Claut. Another traditional use is farinata, a very soft polenta made of corn flour with or without wheat flour, cooked over low heat for 30 minutes in water or milk (or rather in equal parts of water and milk). This corn variety is considered as a second-best option and was not really taken into account, this is why it is almost completely lost. It was grown in several areas of the region while the current growing areas are those of Claut, Val Cellina, where there is just one family growing this old corn variety. The interest for cinquantino corn has risen back again in the last few years, and the hope is to grow it back not to lose this heritage completely.

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Friuli Venezia Giulia

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Cereals and flours