Costigliole d’Asti Motta Square Capsicum

Slow Food Presidium

Italy

Piedmont

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

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Costigliole d’Asti Motta Square Capsicum

Among the many varieties of square capsicum that exist, there is one that has been cultivated for over a century in the area south of the city of Asti, in the flood plains of the Tanaro river. It is one of the most exquisite and it is found in the gardens of Motta (a district of the municipality of Costigliole d’Asti). The characteristic square shape of the yellow or red fruit is large, it has a thick and fleshy pulp and an intense but sweet and delicate taste, due to its high sugar content which makes it as delicious as it is perishable.
Horticulture has been practiced in these areas since ancient times. In the 11th century the area along the Tanaro river was called vivarium, with a clear reference to the cultivation of vegetables. In 1914, the documentation of a “Competition with prizes for the functional cultivation of vegetable gardens in the Asti district” launched on the initiative of the Asti Horticultural Society, highlights the production of capsicums by numerous Costigliole horticulturists. In the following decades, the capsicum established itself as a favourite crop of the Motta area which, proudly, was nicknamed “little California”.
When production was at its peak, 4 to 5 million kilograms per year of square capsicum were grown. In the 1960s and 1970s, its fame reached its peak: capsicums were sent in large amounts to the markets of Milan and Turin. Then the decline. Capsicum crops were replaced first by flowers and then by hazelnuts.
The famous Motta di Costigliole d’Asti square capsicum then became very rare and almost impossible to find, even if the tradition of the Motta square capsicum festival, which is held every year in the last week of July, remains alive.
Whether dipped raw in oil, stuffed, preserved grilled and under oil, or roasted and then sprinkled with bagna cauda, ​​the square pepper of Motta has earned a leading role in the culinary tradition of Piedmont and in particular in Costigliole, with memorable testimonies, such as that of Lidia Alciati, the great chef of the restaurant “Da Guido”, whose square pepper stuffed with tuna, capers, anchovies, and seasoned with a little mayonnaise and a drop of white wine vinegar, is unforgettable.

Season

The harvests take place in July

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The seeds of the Motta di Costigliole d'Asti Square Capsicum had not died out but were carefully stored in the germplasm bank of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Turin (DISAFA) and by a local gardener who cultivated it for family consumption. In 2020 some farmers started replanting it in some gardens in Costigliole and, thanks to a young farmer and a local nursery, it was possible to produce and distribute seedlings to others, creating a community of horticulturists who shared the goal of bringing back the historic Motta square pepper to the market and on tables at restaurant.

Production area
The municipalities of Costigliole d’Asti (in particular in the locality of Motta), Isola d’Asti and Govone on the riverside and in neighbouring areas of the Tanaro river, in the province of Cuneo.

Presidium supported by
The Costigliole d’Asti municipality.
Growers

Duipuvrun
di Stefano Scavino
Strada Case Valle, 30
Costigliole d’Asti (At)
Tel. +39 347 7566595
info@duipuvrun.it
www.duipuvrun.it

Vivai Casto
Corso Langhe, 4
Costigliole d’Asti (At)
Tel. +39 329 6713770
claudio.casto@alice.it
www.vivaicasto.it
Presidium producers’ coordinator
Stefano Scavino
Tel. +39 347 7566595
info@duipuvrun.it

Slow Food Presidium coordinator
Gabriella Chiusano
Tel. 347 5396554
gabra81@gmail.com

The seeds of the Motta di Costigliole d'Asti Square Capsicum had not died out but were carefully stored in the germplasm bank of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Turin (DISAFA) and by a local gardener who cultivated it for family consumption. In 2020 some farmers started replanting it in some gardens in Costigliole and, thanks to a young farmer and a local nursery, it was possible to produce and distribute seedlings to others, creating a community of horticulturists who shared the goal of bringing back the historic Motta square pepper to the market and on tables at restaurant.

Production area
The municipalities of Costigliole d’Asti (in particular in the locality of Motta), Isola d’Asti and Govone on the riverside and in neighbouring areas of the Tanaro river, in the province of Cuneo.

Presidium supported by
The Costigliole d’Asti municipality.
Growers

Duipuvrun
di Stefano Scavino
Strada Case Valle, 30
Costigliole d’Asti (At)
Tel. +39 347 7566595
info@duipuvrun.it
www.duipuvrun.it

Vivai Casto
Corso Langhe, 4
Costigliole d’Asti (At)
Tel. +39 329 6713770
claudio.casto@alice.it
www.vivaicasto.it
Presidium producers’ coordinator
Stefano Scavino
Tel. +39 347 7566595
info@duipuvrun.it

Slow Food Presidium coordinator
Gabriella Chiusano
Tel. 347 5396554
gabra81@gmail.com

Territory

StateItaly
RegionPiedmont