The zampognaro bean, now at serious risk of extinction as the six remaining small producers only produce about 200 kilograms a year, is mainly grown in Piano Liguori or Campagnano in the eastern part of the Island of Ischia. It is dark red in color with small white streaks. The origin of the name (meaning ‘piper’) is uncertain, it may be because the plant, twisting round its supporting canes as it grows, resembles the laces of bagpipers’ shoes: they used to pass from town to town in the days before Christmas. Others suggest that the name is because they are eaten dry at Christmas, or that they resemble the shape of a bagpipe when they swell with cooking. The beans are sown in mid-March with a waning moon, and harvested in late summer. They are eaten as they are with a little extravirgin oil. Full-flavored and rich in iron, they remain firm even after three hours of cooking. Giovanni Gussone, a well-known botanist of the Bourbon court in Naples, included them in his 1854 collection of Ischia’s flora.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.