The area surrounding Reggio Emilia are characterized by the presence of both Bassa valleys and the smooth mountains of Appennino Reggiano. Since the period preceding the Roman Empire, there was a sort of silent alliance between the country and the mountain settlers: cereals, legumes and vegetables grown in the valley were exchanged for chestnut, grapes and wild animals, of which the woods of Appennino had in abundance.
A real barter: not only did it grant these people survival for centuries, but it also favored the creation of recipes made with wild animals within peasants’ culinary tradition: birds, boars and above all, rabbits. Roast Rabbit alla Reggiana was especially cooked in the country of Reggio Emilia.
Each family used to raise its own rabbit: women were those who cared of it and they used to feed rabbit with herbs and seeds. Rabbit alla Reggiana recipe bears many evidences of its ancient origins: it requires rabbit meat to be marinated or long, with berries and aromas. This because, up to the Middle ages, rabbit breeders didn’t exist and rabbit was considered a wild animal.
Considering the national culinary tradition, the rabbit never appeared on the tables of rich people banquets, cause it was seen as an animal “for the poors”; thus rabbit entered urban people cuisine only 40 years ago.
Thanks to Chef Andrea Medici, Osteria in Scandiano