Giovanna and chickpeas from Cicerale

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Intervista a Giovanna Voria

Participation in the press tour dedicated to the project “Start from the field” in Vallo della Lucania organized by daZero pizzeria and sponsored by the Ente Parco Nazionale del Cilento and Vallo di Diano, the Municipality of Vallo della Lucania and the Cooperative Credit Bank of Cilento and South Lucania, gave me the opportunity to meet an extraordinary person: Giovanna Voria, the ambassador of the Cilento cuisine.

“Torn” for a day sowing of chickpeas strictly organic that she farms along with many other varieties of legumes, fruit and vegetables in her farm Corbella in Cicerale, Giovanna was lead to keep the workshops on vegetables and herbs to children who have participated in the project and who have carefully followed. It is not difficult, moreover, to be won over by this energetic and solar woman that defines herself passionate chef of Cilento. From here to interview her for our “Incontri” shortly before the lunch of pizzas and Cilento products at Pizzeria daZero, the step was quick!

“I was born in Cilento – she says – , birthplace of the Mediterranean Diet. Exactly in Cicerale, the land of chickpea Slow Food Presidium, along with other legumes very strong symbol of the Cilento cuisine. I am proud to promote the culture, tradition and cuisine of this generous land”. A land that has enchanted many people, including Ancel Keys, the American nutritionist who has lived many years in Cilento to study the eating habits of the population. To him is inspired Giovanna and to his motto “eat well to live better”. She, in fact, goes beyond it in her philosophy also puts all her woman and mother love. “Love means wanting the good of their loved ones, make them stay healthy. It’s for this that everywhere I go I point up that we must eat with our brain thinking about the good of the family”.

But what are the essential ingredients in your kitchen?
In my kitchen come as ingredients only quality products, cooked simply and served exclusively with extra virgin olive oil. I propose the dishes that we want to represent us cilentani inside and outside the borders of our country. And then I say: Giovanna is a chickpea! My strength are the chickpeas that I propose in all the ways in 200 recipes from classic soups to fancy dishes involving them in sweetened version, with chocolate and even in the form of ice cream.

What are the dishes that Giovanna prefers to create?
All those made from chickpeas of course. Over all the “cicciata” or “cuccìa”, a soup of peasant origin that was prepared on 1 May, has already taken place in sowing, with the hope of a new and plentiful harvest. Good omen was also offered a dish to neighbors. I have kept the old recipe that involves the use of about twenty seeds of legumes and cereals that are separately soaked and cooked. Finally, cooked, are mixed together to give life to authentic cicciata that even today, despite the long and elaborate preparation, is one of the tastiest dishes of our reality Cilento.

Your chef’s tips.
I am a peasant cook. Just look at my hands: these days there is the sowing of chickpeas and my hands tell it all! In any case it is essential the path from field to plate, to the preparation. Cilento is the cradle of biodiversity, but everyone should be able to tell its territory through herbs gathered in the fields and seasonal and zero kilometer products. Then you must never miss the most important ingredient: love!

Next time we promise to visit her in her “kingdom”, the farm Corbella, surrounded by proud and wild Mediterranean maquis of Cicerale, the land of ancient medieval origins, overlooking the valley of the River Alento. It’s here, in the cozy dining room, that you can taste the dishes prepared by Giovanna with organic produce from the farm, first of all the famous chickpeas from Cicerale. We have talked so much, now we have to taste it!

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