The chili pepper known as Tri Pizzi (which in dialect means three laces) or minni di vacca (meaning cow udders) due to the three protuberances which are found on the bottom, it is an ecotype that has been selected over time by generations of farmers in the Monte Pore area.
Here the dark soils are very fertile, and the microclimate favours an intense formation of dew which makes irrigation almost unnecessary.
It is grown primarily in Spilinga, where it is the fundamental ingredient of ‘nduja, the spreadable and very spicy salami which is a symbol of Calabrian butchery. It is also found in the gardens of neighbouring towns. Its uses are varied: it can be dried and powdered and mixed with olive oil and a little vinegar to treat the surface of Monte Poro pecorino, it naturally protects the cheese from dangerous moulds. It is also used to give colour and flavour to other local cured meats, such as the soppressata. The antioxidant properties of chilli naturally preserve the meat and allow for cold cuts to be produced without extra additives.
The pulp of the Tri Pizzi is thick, and it is not lost during processing, it gives the ‘nduja a bright red colour, a particular smell and an aromatic, spicy and sharp taste, but it is not excessive and does not cover the flavours of the meat or leave a bitter aftertaste like many poor quality ‘nduja.
The chilies are harvested five times a year, the first harvest takes place at the end of August. Once collected, they are washed, have their stalk removed, and are placed on racks to dry, taking care not to leave them for too long. The drying takes place at room temperature, using the wind and the sun, they are then chopped (some people boil them) and frozen in order to be used if necessary, in the following months, or they can be ground.
The Tri Pizzi has a high value because it is not abundantly produced, and the level of production is not enough for all of the locally produced nduja.
Many producers therefore prefer to use chillies grown outside of the region or even from abroad. Competition from Asian chillies, which are often risky to use due to the chemicals that are used in their cultivation, is strong: their price can be up to five times lower.
The research activities necessary for the reporting of this product in the Ark of Taste online catalogue were financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the General Directorate of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change”, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017.