Ciccioli are a typical specialty of Emilia Romagna, the Italian region where pig farming is the great tradition of peasant culture. The inhabitants of these areas, in fact, are used to say that in their territories there are more pigs than people. Born as food for the poor, it soon became a delicacy for the nobles. Ciccioli come in many varieties depending on the region of origin and different traditions.
In the past Ciccioli represented, with Polenta, a great nutritious meal. Today they are mostly used to accompany aperitifs and starters, and if crushed, they can also be used to make the most delicious dough for bread and focaccia. Ciccioli are produced using the fat parts in the noble cuts of the pig and they are a great example of the local food tradition which used and processed almost all the parts of the animal, enriching the local gastronomy.
The tradition of Ciccioli and their preparation process is strictly connected with the figure of the “norcini” (butchers): experienced butchers that in late Autumn were passing from farmhouse to farmhouse helping the farmers to slaughter the meat of the pig and to process it into gourmet products.
Photo by Gigi Il Salumificio