Tarquinia, Etruscan tomb (Funeral banquet) [Photo credits: Guido Camici]
Tarquinia, Etruscan tomb (Funeral banquet) [Photo credits: Guido Camici]
Spelt, fennel, bay leaves, garlic, honey, chickpeas, duck, pork and goat. These are some of the ingredients of the Etruscan culinary tradition. Etruscan paintings, artifacts, rigorous studies and also poetry have shown us what we know today about this ancient civilization. The current Mediterranean diet has not significantly changed over time (excluding the addition of potatoes, tomatoes and corn). We know nowadays that even Etruscans frequently ate soups and breads derived from cereals, sauces made of olive oil, fish and roasted meat. Few months ago Tuscanycious visited Archeo Street Food of Cortona. Six restaurants offered special dishes inspired by the Etruscan culinary tradition. Here are some Etruscan recipes for you: Aruspicini filled with tongue in green sauce The "aruspice" (soothsayer) was an Etruscan priest devoted to divination, who predicted the future by analyzing the entrails of animals. The aruspicini are spelt buns stuffed with pork liver, tongue in green sauce (salsa verde) or goose, which maintain a strong connection with sacrifices and rituals. Since leavened bread was surely destined for aristocratic banquets, unleavened bread is a better choice in this case. For the preparation, mix water and spelt flour until it reaches a consistency similar to that of pizza dough and cook in a pan. Prepare a vegetable soup and insert the tongue when it's hot. After cooking, remove the tongue and remove skin. Leave to cool and cut into thin slices. Prepare the green sauce made from the leaves of parsley, garlic, capers and anchovies in vinegar. Spelt salad Cook the spelt in water with salt and a sprig of rosemary, drain and proceed with the preparation of the salad. For the dressing, add black and green olives, capers, carrots and celery cooked briefly in water and vinegar, anchovy fillets, mint, basil, lemon peel and a clove of garlic. Spelt Biscuits Try to make any cookies by replacing wheat flour with that of spelt, honey instead of sugar, olive oil, fennel seeds and buon appetito!. If you want to know more about the Etruscan civilisation,  don't miss the exhibit "Etruscan Seduction" in Cortona until July 31 2014: 150 works embracing sculptures, porcelain, memorial stones and other objects, including 40 pieces from London’s British Museum.   Special thanks to "Vetrina Toscana" restaurants in Cortona:
  • Ambrosia
  • Osteria del Teatro
  • Trattoria Dardano
  • Trattoria la Bucaccia
  • Taverna Pane e Vino
  • Ristorante Nessun Dorma
Sources: Giulierini Paolo and Milani Antonietta, "L'alimentazione degli Etruschi", Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona, 2012 Sandrelli Eleonora, "Etruschi, storia di un popolo misterioso", Giunti Editore, 2007