Venafro V’scuott

Ark of taste
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V’scuott are rustic, bagel-shaped crackers (sometimes called taralli). They are particularly crunchy and brittle because they must be worked exclusively by hand and are lightly boiled before being baked. To make the crackers, yeast is dissolved in warm water and mixed with flour to create a soft dough. This is allowed to rise for 12 hours, before more flour, salt and a good amount of olive oil is added. The oil used in their preparation must be produced from olives grown in the commune of Venafro. There are also versions of the dough that contain fennel seeds. The resulting tough is rolled out into cylinders of 40 cm long, which are twisted and brought together to form a closed loop. After rising for two hours, these forms are dropped into boiling water until they float to the surface, and are then allowed to dry for 2 – 3 hours. Finally, they are baked at 180 – 200°C for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. The v’scuott are often eaten dipped in either milk or wine.   Their shape has its origins in the 1700s when bakers began to reuse the leftovers of bread dough to form rounded and twisted rings. What started as a “poor” food, today the crackers are a highly appreciated product, eaten as an alternative to bread during main meals or as a snack. A famous saying from Venafro concerning v’scuott is, “I Signor manna i v’scuott a chi n tè i rient” (God sends v’scuott to those whose teeth are not in the condition to enjoy them). The v’scuott are also present at special occasions such as confirmations, baptisms and various celebrations, especially weddings. Another widespread and popular local saying is: ‘Quand c’ magnamm st ‘v’scottra?’ (When will you eat the v’scuott?) as a way of asking, ‘When will you get married?’ However, today, there are only three producers in Venafro, in the province of Molise in southern Italy, still working to create this traditional food product.

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Production area:Venafro municipality, Isernia province

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Bread and baked goods

Nominated by:Paola Strumia