Anne's Blog

Near Norcia, a Preci Tradition Lives On

Date: January 16, 2019 - categories: , , , , , , , - Leave your thoughts

You might know that Norcia, Umbria medieval mountain- town gem, is famous for its norcinerie. “Norcineria”  can’t be translated with a single word: “a pork-butchery store selling other local products” sums it up.  And in just about every tiny mountain town near Norcia, you’ll find a norcineria.

There’s one in Preci, too – but outside the town.

Like Norcia, Preci was devastated in the October 30, 2016 earthquake.

Since the Middle Ages, Preci has been renowned  for its butchers. Experts in castration of pigs and sheep, as of the 15th century the preciani became famous throughout Europe for surgery performed on male singers, resulting in the mellifluous voices of the castrati.

This charming mountain town is now off limits and the curious Museo della Chirurgia (the Surgery Museum includes castration instruments) is indefinitely closed.

But a family of butchers – three brothers – carry on the Preci norcineria tradition passed on by their father.   Massimiliano was serving customers fresh meats as we arrived and handled Pino’s order for fresh sausages

His brother, Roberto, cut a short string of dried sausages for us, too, those pig liver ones, a specialty of theirs:

…and then the  coppiette dangling above the counter caught Pino’s eye – and here again, translation is a challenge:  “chewy dried pork strips” is the best I can do.  Roberto added a few of those to our order:

 

We didn’t meet the third brother,  Claudio,  as he works in their laboratorio transforming the butchered pork meat into prosciutti, guanciali (pork cheek), capocolli, pancetta, coppa (“head cheese”) andcotechino (a gelatinous pork sausages traditionally eaten in lentil soup at New Year’s).

Salamis, too, naturalmente. As well as the traditional Umbrian norcineria salami, the Alesi brothers also sell wild boar, deer  meat salamis and one with black truffles.. 

 

As in any Norcia area norcineria,  you’ll also find here the tiny quick-cooking lentils of Castelluccio di Norcia

..and farro, too (a delicious addition to your lentil soup):

Cornmeal for your polenta is there, too:

And what cheeses!

Roberto opened their massive refrigerator to show us with pride an aged pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese): 

….and a cheese with shaved black truffles

 

I was out of a fresh cheese, la ricotta (I have it for breakfast almost daily – on rye bread with jam or chestnut honey). Roberto weighed out about 200 g. for us:

 

At the other end of the counter, his brother Massimiliano was helping a customer select vegetables. As a sign over the entryway lets you know, this is an alimentari  as well as a norcineria

Bread, pizza, focacce and other baked goods are there, too;

Near Pino, young local workers were at the counter to order a pizza slice or two for a late-morning snack:

As we gathered up our purchases and headed out, I chuckled to see the bulbous salami hanging over the counter top: coglioni del mulo, ubiquitous in every norcineria. Translation? Not from me. (But you can look it up…..)

Read about the curious fame of Preci – and SEE it prior to the earthquake

Click here for news on our favorite restaurant near Preci

Click here to read about Preci’s earthquake damage

Read about a favorite norcineria of Norcia

Click here for more on the famous Castelluccio di Norcia lentils

Read about an earthquake restoration project of Pino in Todiano near Preci

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