Summer has gone and autumn has come with its fruits and vegetables. Yet, we are still in time to savour the last seasonal fruits summer gives us. One of these is peach, but not a common one.
In the surroundings of Brescia, more precisely in the town of Collebeato, the persech (the word “peach” said in the local dialect) is one of most ancient produces in the area. Enjoying a perfect climate, it found here its perfect habitat. Indeed, there are valuable fields where peaches are carefully grown and cuddled since the 19th century. Cultivated in small quantities and not following market logics, Collebeato peaches are hand-picked only when well ripe and immediately placed on the market, without passing into the cooler, so to preserve their quality. Small quantity, good quality!
Being Collebeato peach such a star, every year over the second week of July a huge festival in its honour takes place, where local specialties – not only peach-based – are cooked and served in the many stalls you can find in the main park of the town and in its roads.
Then, if you bought too many peaches at the festival and you don’t want to waste them, old recipes (and preservation methods) come to your aid!
Legend has it that a woman from Brescia wanted her son to taste Collebeato peaches. He was at war though, so she turned them into a jelly to last longer and sent it to him. This is the origin of Persicata, a typical sweet from Brescia.
All you need is: 1 kilo well ripe Collebeato peaches, 700 gr sugar.
Peel peaches first (you can even parboil them so that this first step is easier and you avoid removing too much of the fruit).
Dice them and stew in a pot adding a glass of water. Add some more water if you notice the mixture is becoming too dry.
Once turned into a puree, let it cool. After that, blend until smooth, add sugar and cook over a low flame stirring with a wooden spoon. Once sticky, spread a 3 cm layer onto the baking paper and allow to cool for two days at least. It has to cool on both sides, so turn this layer after the other side is already more or less solid. Finally, dice it and coat with white sugar.
If you don’t like peach, there’s a great alternative: the cotognata. Basically the same as Persicata but you swap peach for quince.
ricettemania.it - Persicata
bresciainvetrina.it - La Persicata
itineraribrescia.it - Persicata e Cotogna: le composte Bresciane
giornaledibrescia.it - A Collebeato è tempo delle pesche
bresciaatavola.it - Festa delle pesche di Collebeato
All Flickr images released under Creative Commons license.
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