Flour, potato, eggs, milk, butter and cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables in the snow-free months and meat on weekends and public holidays - this was what was available to the mountain dwellers of the Ladin valleys. Which is not a lot. And if they weren't careful, it would go off quickly. Fruit and vegetables in particular had to be eaten while they were still fresh, with the exception of cabbage. This was preserved by fermenting it and, eaten in the form of sauerkraut, provided vitamins and minerals during wintertime until the first herbs sprouted in the spring. Meat was dried or smoked and stored, for example, 'speck', called 'cioce' in the Ladin language. Bread was only baked twice a year and then dried to stop it going mouldy.
Healthy dishes were prepared from these simple ingredients and passed on down between generations of cooks. The variety of what ended up on plates visibly widened over the centuries. In those days, the climate and hard work meant that meals had to be very substantial and the recipes for these dishes inspire young and inventive cooks to sophisticated interpretations today.
Taking a glance at the menus of local eateries these traditional dishes are easy to recognise. Their Ladin names - panicia, balotes, gnoch da zigher, tultres, cancì checi, cancì blanc, scartè, gnoch da soni … then sweet dishes: cütles da pom, fortaies, puncerli – clearly stand out next to the generally well known international and Italian dishes. Oh, and do you really want to know what all these names mean? Then you have to come and try these delicacies for yourself! We'll still let you in on a recipe that you can try at home though:
(Ingredients for 4 persons)
600 g. flour (Italian grade double zero)
½ glass of oil
¼ litre of milk
40 g. yeast
pinch of salt
1 tub of plain yoghurt
First, stir milk, yoghurt, yeast and 100 g. flour together to form a dough and leave to prove for around 10 to 15 minutes. Then add the rest of the flour, oil, eggs and salt and knead thoroughly. Cover and leave to prove once again in a warm place for 1 hour. Roll out the dough to around 2.5 cm thickness and cut out circles with a glass or another round shape (around 10 cm in diameter). Carefully pull the dough apart so that the outer edge stays thick and the middle is stretched very thin. Then fry in plenty of oil until golden yellow for around 2 minutes on each side. Put a ladle of venison ragout into the middle of the Crafuns mori and serve.
Alternatively, you can serve the Crafuns with tomato sauce, mushrooms and even cranberry jam.