THE BRØLEN / “Virtues” between history, memory and culture. When you have a treasure and you do not know it –

“The first of May we use to cook all kinds of legumes, farm beans, beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc. together. with various pastas and seven salted vegetables and bones, salted ears and feet of pigs; and we call this soup virtue .. “ (Giuseppe Savini “Lexicon of the Teramo Dialect”).

A people’s culture manifests itself in what it creates, in what it produces and in the way it relates to its place of origin. Since ancient times, the Teramo area has been inhabited and used by men and women who have given life to traditions that can be perceived in the alleys and still exist. It is in folklore that the echoes of a simple subsistence economy survive. Who gave birth to the “Virtues”. And to the Teramo gastronomy, which is surprisingly rich and varied and draws its unmistakable aromas and flavors from old peasant traditions. Influenced by a centuries-old history dating back to the beginnings of Italian culture, it includes in its mountainous area forests, valleys, waterways, caves and historical relics. The reality of centuries of history and the imagination of cultural traditions are mixed in an intriguing combination of aromas and flavors that return the typical pleasures of simple and healthy foods that belonged to our ancestors. Visiting our part of Abruzzo “gastronomically” also means discovering the cuisine based on the authenticity of the products and on the preparatory technique born of ancient traditions, a true art that matures over time to make food a cultural expression.

Giuseppe Savini would definitely cry by reading in front of the Canadians selling “The Fishing Virtues” . Mussels and clams instead of beans and chickpeas; shrimp instead of pork. While in front of the Pescara station, they offer “Vegan Virtues”. Of course, they are in danger of lightning from the sky. In these days, the days of the “Holy Law of Virtues,” it is very clear that every restaurateur does as he pleases, or rather, as it suits him. Also by cheating patrons and protecting the gastronomic heritage and our territory. Virtues are the typical dish of May 1st in Teramo. I’m not a minestrone and I’m not a soup. They are a single dish … in every sense! But no one – if not Marcello Schillaci attacked by the vulgar bureaucracy of professional paperworkers – says that “Le Virtù” is the traditional dish and not a commercial product used to make money. “Le Virtù” is a historical dish controversial of our territory, as many countries claim primogeniture, but whose origin seems indisputable and recognized by Giuseppe Savini himself, the first to systematically study the traditions and folklore of the province of Teramo. The “virtues” are based on Teramo’s culture, history and traditions, they are of flesh and blood, they are memories, emotions, exchanges, friendships. And today they have a specification. The virtues are the result of a very ancient ritual who strictly respects “calendar deadlines and seasonal rhythms “, wrote Giuseppe Di Domenicantonio in one of his studies. And they must be respected. They can not be “offended” by the traders. They are a food that is now officially “adopted” as its own by the people of Teramo (although it is found, albeit with different faiths and characterized by numerous variations, in many cities of Abruzzo). And the true Teramans should defend, improve, and love this right. Do not let it be used as a commodity by restaurateurs who pretend to be today’s whores.

Tradition of the virtues are very ancient and are attached to the ancient practices of the cult of the earth. The virtues are the story of Teramo and history must be defended by the barbarians. In the past, the virtues were produced by the whole society, which distributed them to the poor. In fact, this custom seems to continue in the habit of cooking the virtues in great abundance and offering them as a tribute to neighbors, loved ones, and even simple and occasional acquaintances. And it is said “To whom n’argal ‘je s’acidisc” . Virtues are memory of our land, seems to be linked to the uncertain existence of our grandparents’ peasants, who late in the winter emptied the cupboards of the farmer Calendimaggio and cleaned them of all leftovers. Because we let unscrupulous lansquenets demean and insult this sacred heritage, for thirty denarii. Virtues have a recipe, and the fact is that the taste must come from the creation of a perfect blend where no ingredient must appear. With what dignity does he suggest otherwise? “Virtù” The Teramo dish par excellence, a dish that I define “holy” as it is associated with the presence of a cult, of particular cultural, sociological, expressive significance, and unlike the “unholy”, small plates invented with the sole economic purpose, it is associated with atonement and pagan rituals. The “virtues” to which the name refers are those traditionally required of the housewife. Virtues therefore represent the good will, wisdom and imagination of “virtuous” women. According to the canonical recipe, they should be present seven different ingredients, seven like the Christian virtues: seven dried legumes left over from the winter supply, seven new vegetables offered by the spring season, seven fresh legumes, seven spices, seven grades of meat and seven pastas with the addition of seven grains of rice. Everything has to cook for seven hours for the dish to finally get its good virtues. They are the typical dish by which the arrival of spring and the end of winter were celebrated. According to a legend, it seems that everything had to be prepared by seven virgins. Often we find around only an infinity of soups. And we find “Minestrone di Virtù” advertised.

There is only one recipe for virtues and it cannot be changed. Woe to those who try! Of course, there are tricks that make virtues better than others, grandmothers’ secrets, the extra ingredient that makes everything better … and that apparently no housewife will ever reveal! There are tortellino yes or no diatribe. Meatballs yes or no. Tomato yes or no. There are those who add more pasta, more spices, more scents, but in general, the traditional recipe is and should be roughly the same as always. It is therefore useless to repeat how important it is to focus on a product’s know-how for a better awareness of and improvement of a product and responsibility for consumption. To create added value, improve the quality of a territory, the values ​​of the land, the excellence of our restaurateurs. And so getting our dishes out of your circuit, building a path that allows you to give them visibility, is a national winning idea for our restaurant.

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