Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
Since I was little I heard about the “Cooperativa di Legnaia” and was convinced that it was made up of woodsmen, or possibly carpenters.
I never would have thought that they were owners of a dream which had become reality.
Instead, the name “legnaia” derived from an old neighborhood of Florence where farm products for the city were produced.
Here, in 1903, 17 farmers met and created a cooperative capable of satisfying the city’s request for fruit and vegetables Since then they have gone a long way and members now number 616.
There aren’t only farmers, but also breeders, winegrowers and even fisherman, and the numbers show that a land made up of “40,000 hectares” can be cultivated by “250 workers”.
I am telling you about Legnaia because we are in the season of “little” fruit.” A few years ago my local greengrocer brought me fabulous strawberries and red currants.
I asked about them and he explained that there was a group of producers from Legnaia at the central market. Now I don’t leave him alone. Every time I visit him I want those fruits.
When I went to look for the origin of my precious currants, I discovered that they come from the hills of Scandicci.
Who would’ve thought that you can find such “good stuff” in Scandicci?
Casprini grows strawberries, red currants, blueberries and goose berries, both out of season (in greenhouses) and mostly Ii season in open fields.
Red currants need land where there is no standing water. Therefore the hillside drains in an optimum manner and produces a healthy, rustic and robust plant.
Its fruits are gathered in June and July. It is a micro production with only 40 boxes are week. Two of them are used by me! So tell your greengrocer that the red fruit comes from Scandicci. You will do both of you a favor.
Be sure to tell him that the merchandise doesn’t only have to be pretty. Above all, it must be good! I eat red currants in this manner: I take 250 grams of strawberries (possibly from Scandicci) and about 50 gm of sugar. I then blend it well and put it through a sieve. Then I add 250 gm of cream and put it in the siphon.
I add two capsules of compressed air and voilà, the frothy strawberry mix is ready.
I then take 200 gm of red currants. I peel them and put them in a little pan with a bit of water and 50 gm of sugar.
I cook it all for about five minutes until I have a liquid jelly. I then pass the jelly through a thin cloth to get rid of the peel and seeds and then let it cool.
Red currants are rich in pectin and a natural gelatin will remain. This process was also used by the famous Florentine cook, Artusi.
I put a little currant syrup at the base of a glass of whiskey and spray with the strawberry cream. I layer this with cookies or a thin layer of chocolate and then once more add the cream of strawberries.
I end with lots of currant syrup which will mix the acidulous and sweet tastes. And here you have our “coppa di panna e fragole al ribes rosso”.
Thank you and see you next time. Eat well and take care!
Matia Barciulli, chef, Technical coordinator Antinori’s restaurants… and father of Brand