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The rocciata is a sweet baked recognized as a traditional food product for Umbria and Marche’s regions.
This name knows it in the areas of Foligno, Assisi, Nocera Umbra, and Spello; it is known as attorta or ‘ntorta in the mountains of Foligno, Sellano, Trevi, and Spoleto; in the Province of Macerata, it is also called rocciu (a word which in Umbria, however, indicates a different baked sweet, elsewhere called ciambellone), in Vallo di Nera in Valnerina it is called torta. All these names have the same meaning, deriving from the roots of “arrocciare” or “torcere.”
Attorta is the name used in some areas to indicate the “rocciata” and a variant produced in those areas and registered as PAT with this name.
The sweet has very ancient origins, probably going back to the Umbrian people; in fact, in the “tables eugubine,” it is spoken of food with all probability similar to the rocciata and used in the sacred rites: the “tensendo” (as it comes called, in Umbrian language, in the tables eugubine), sweet proper of the god Hondo Cerfio, ancient Umbrian divinity.[without source] For the similarity of the rocciata with the strudel would not be even to exclude bonds with the Longobardi, that just in this zone had their state in the High Middle Ages. For this and other reasons, it seems completely unfounded the theory (widespread among the profane) that the recipe was brought to Foligno by Austrian soldiers passing through in the eighteenth century, thus assimilating the strudel rocciata, but inserting it in an era much later, also this similarity seems to be very superficial and does not take into account many historical and gastronomic elements.
- wheat flour,
- olive oil,
How to make Rocciata
It is a thin sheet of dough made of wheat flour, water, and oil, wrapped in a mixture made of nuts, sugar, olive oil, and apples. To this raw dough, according to the many variants, it is possible to add other components or seasonings, such as alkermes, cocoa, raisins, dried figs, cinnamon, pine nuts, or jam. The roll thus obtained is turned in a spiral on itself, brushed with oil or alkermes, sometimes sprinkled with sugar, and baked in the oven.
The same raw dough is also used with the following types of filling:
ricotta cheese, sugar, and bitter cocoa
cabbage sautéed in a pan (savory version called fojata)
country herbs or spinach seasoned with sugar and raisins (sweet version, of the fojata, today limited to some zones of the mountain folignate).
The salty version can be called fojata or erbata, with the latter recognized in the commune of Serravalle di Chienti.
Places and times
Today the rocciata is mainly spread in Foligno, Spello, and Assisi and, as an accompaniment, in the mountains of Foligno, where the recipe is more basic and less rich in additional ingredients. The “rocciata di Foligno” has been requested the DOP recognition.
The period in which rocciata is typically prepared goes from late autumn to the end of winter; this is because of the presence on the market of fresh walnuts, which are the basic component and the caloric content of the cake. For this reason, it is a sweet that can be found all year round (except in summer), but it is typical of the autumn period. Until January, in particular, it is typical of the festivities of the Saints and the Dead.
Regional Recipe from Umbria, Marche
Production area as rocciata: Foligno, Assisi, Spello, Bastia Umbra, Bettona, Cannara, Bevagna and Serravalle di Chienti;
as attorta: Spoleto (also, but not registered, Sellano, Trevi and Campello sul Clitunno).
as tortella: Terni, Narni, Amelia.