Grass pea rediscovery, an ancient legume from the Marche region
The "Cicerchia", grass pea, is a protein-rich legume, a great alternative to meat consumption. It is excellent for muscles, including the heart, as well as being an good source of B vitamins, calcium and phosphorus. It brings great benefits to bone and memory, thanks to the presence of mineral salts. Moreover, the fibers of which it is rich, make it a perfectly digestible food.
For many years it has been a forgotten legume, despite its ancient origins (we already find traces of it in ancient Egypt) and despite the robustness of the plant that easily adapts to drought and cold.
Until a few years ago, In 1995, a group of young people decided to start cultivating it, constituting the cooperative La Bona Usanza in Serra De 'Conti, in the province of Ancona. The Bona Usanza then decided not to save from extinction only the cicerchia but also other legumes, cereals, sweets and sauces of the Marche tradition that were gradually disappearing.
The Cicerchia of Serra De 'Conti, smaller and greener in color, has been recognized as a slowfood heritage, along with the "lonzino di fico", the fig lonzino, of the same area, also produced by La Bona Usanza. It has a less bitter taste than other cicerchie and is perfect for soups but also as flour for the preparation of maltagliati pasta and tagliatelle.
Here is a recipe based on cicerchia: lukewarm soup, with beans and mussels
On 23/24/25 November, the cicerchia will be the protagonist of the Festa della Cicerchia, right in Sierra De 'Conti, where you can taste it in all its forms combined with local flavors and wines. You're all invited!