In Carnia it’s known as Per Martin, in Carinthiia as Klotzen, or Doerrbirne, while in the valleys on the Slovenian side of Italy’s eastern border, they call it Tepka.It probably isn’t a single variety at all but rather a population of pear trees that has adapted to the mountains on the border between Italy, Austria and Slovenia.
They include Pyrus nivalis, the yellow pear or snow pear,which stands out for its slightly silvery foliage on account of the tomentum, or down, on the lower blade of the young leaves, and Pyrus communis, the European or common pear, whose leaves are a pronounced bright green in color. The flowers are small and white and the fruits are also quite small and round in shape. The fruits can only be eaten after being allowed to overripen after the harvest, thus changing their consistency, color and flavor. The procedure involves arranging the freshly picked pears well apart from one another in wood crates and leaving these in a dry, dark place. Here they rest for about a month until they have reached the right degree of ripeness. The skin takes on a dark brown color like the flesh, which stays firm and sugary. The process eliminates the typical astringent effect caused by the high tannin content, which diminishes with overripening. By calibrating the ripening period and temperature, it is possible to preserve the pears for a long time.
Once this process has been completed, the pears may be dried. In the old days, the majolica stube, or kitchen stove, ensured the constant warmth necessary. Alternatively, the pears were arranged on trellises and placed in special wood dryers. Studies on old drying systems are being carried out in the Gailtal and Kanaltal valleys in Austria. Whatever the system used, it is important for the warmth to reach the core of the fruit since it is dried whole, not in slices.
The dried pear can be eaten as it is or ground to flour or crumbled to make pear bread. Refreshed in water, the pear pulp is combined with ricotta to become the main ingredient in the filling for klotzennudeln or cjarsons, ravioli. In the valleys, klozen pear juice, perry, brandy and liqueur are still widely produced.
Klotzen pear products are available all year round.
The Presidium’s aim is to preserve this biodiversity by counting, cataloguing and protecting surviving trees, and also by planting new ones. It has also set itself the target of processing the fresh fruit to produce the likes of dried pears (as a filling for klotzennudeln or cjarsons), perry, liqueurs and brandy to drive a form of economic development combining tradition, landscape and sustainable tourism.
In Italy: the communes of Tarvisio, Malborghetto-Valbruna, Pontebba, Dogna, Chiusaforte, Resiutta, Resia and Moggio Udinese.
In Austria: the municipalities of Dellach, Gitschtal, Arnoldstein, St.Stefan im Gailtal, Kirchbach, Koetschach-Mauthen and Hermagor-Pressegersee
Friuli Venezia Giulia Region
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Slow Food Presidium Coordinator
tel. +39 335 6789205