Pira Saverotta o Viteralise
The viteralise pear is a local pear variety that is grown both in the Reventino and Alto Lamentino areas, and was intoroduced in the hamlet of Viterale in the late 19th century. This is a premountain locality that is towering over a valley turning southwards and overlooking the Lamezia Terme plain. It is also known as Saverotta pear and the origin of its name has got an interesting background story. According to tradition, a man, whose name was Saverio Fazio, introduced this variety in the lands he owned in Viterale, close to Serrastretta. He belonged to a very important local family, the Saveruattis: this is why it is called piru saveruattu (Saveruatti’s pear). It is told that this pear variety comes from a much more internal area while according to another version, it would originate from a graft developed in Viterale by crossbreeding several winter varieties. This variety has become very popular over the years and people started calling it Viterale pear. It is a winter pear, which is harvested in late November; after that, the pears are covered in hay and left in the dark. In the past, big wooden crates (casciuni) were used to store food supplies in a cool place and in the dark. Since it is a winter crop, large quantities were stocked to better cope with the cold season. Once it is harvested, the viteralise pear is very hard and with colours going from green to yellow and brown too; its peel is thin and hard. Its taste is very strong, acrid, and definitely sets your teeth on edge. When it is ripe, after some months, the taste gets softer, pleasant and sweet eventually prevails on acrid. Also its texture feels very different over time: the pear is softer, and gets darker as it ripens. On the palate, the fruit is still fleshy with a full-bodied taste, but the initial sour notes are finally replaced by a delicate sugary and sweet flavour; it tastes quite granular in terms of texture. This pear is a perfect match for cheese or seasoned food, it is also used to make jams or creams. It was common to have it boiled or baked in the past, considering its peculiar texture. The viteralise pear is rarer and rarer, both in orchards and street markets today. The number of trees plummeted, in fact, and this variety cannot comply with big distribution standards. It can be bought at small farms in Serrastretta and still some trees are grown in the sorrounding municipalities today. This variety is usually grown by old farmers and in a land that is likely to be depopulated soon, and these are some of the reasons for it is endangered.