Onion Perfection: Cipolla di Certaldo

| Wed, 04/26/2017 - 06:00
Slow Food Presidium Italy

The delicious Certaldo Onion is so tied to its area of production (and it has been for a long time) that, in the 12th century, the local lords, counts Alberti, had it placed on the town's coat of arms. Even Boccaccio mentioned it in its Decameron, writing how the area was already famous then for producing excellent onions.

Today, the cipolla di Certaldo is a Slow Food Presidium, a symbol of the local farmer’s community and its ancient traditions that must be preserved.

There are two varieties of Certaldo onion, planted at different times of the year: the light purple Statina is round, juicy, sweet, and is enjoyed fresh in the summer months; the Vernina can be found from the end of August throughout winter, it is deep red in color and has a pungent taste.

The Certaldo onion can be used to enhance a variety of dishes, for example it’s excellent in soups, after being lightly fried in hot oil, passed through the sieve and mixed with a little vegetable broth and some potatoes until the mixture forms a dense cream. To be eaten with Tuscan bread croutons!

The Certaldo onion is also used in the ‘francesina’, where the calf muscle, boiled and then cooled, is cut into small pieces and fried in a pan with the onion and with tomato, to which broth is added for a softer result.

I also enjoyed it in the classic spaghetti alla cipolla, a really tasty primo piatto typical of Certaldo. 

The delightful borgo of Certaldo, the hometown of Boccaccio, located just 35 km southwest of Florence, is worth a visit itself; we wrote about it in this feature