Chickpea farinata

The name Tantì is familiar to the old generations living in Nizza Monferrato, a village near Asti, Piedmont: Tantì was a man who used to sell farinata wrapped in straw paper in the streets, riding a kind of covered and heated tricycle and using a kind of trumpet to call children and grownups.

Nowadays, Tantì would be proud of giving his name to the first ready-made mix for the farinata: it is a patented brand because the tradition of the "belecauda", the other name for farinata in Nizza Monferrato, dates back to past generations, when our grandparents used to eat the famous Tantì's farinata.

The farinata: speciality of the italian tradition

Chickpea flour is the main ingredient of this kind of flatbread, called chickpea farinata, whose origins are really ancient. The story goes that its origin dates back to 1284, after the battle of Meloria, between Pisa and Genova, when the victorious Genoese fleet was hit by a storm so violent that the barrels of chickpea flour and the oil drums in the holds were broken open and mixed with the seawater that was coming in, creating a mixture that saved the sailors from starvation.

When the waters calmed, the sailors scooped up the mess and spread it on the decks to dry in the sun. The result was a kind of pancake and it was so good that, when they got home, they began baking it. Though of humble origin, this dish was unexpectedly tasty and genuine and was called "L'oro di Pisa", "Pisan gold", mocking the defeated enemies.

Though varying from region to region, this dish has become part of the cuisine in many areas of the Mediterranean, such as Tuscany, the lower part of Piedmont and Sardinia. In Leghorn, it is called "Torta di ceci" (chickpea cake) and is usually eaten together with bread. In the area between Asti and Turin, it is called "Bela Cauda" and has triggered an active trade.

Nutrients and preparation

Chickpea farinata is a good alternative to bread because it is rich in vitamins B and C, phosphorus, vegetable proteins and mineral salts, helping to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides. In this way, it represents a food able to have positive effects on human health.

It is easy to prepare, since you only need three ingredients: chickpea flour, water and oil. Nonetheless, using copper baking pans and wood woven is fundamental to make the mixture warm and crispy at the edges. It is of paramount importance that the pan is perfectly flat and level when in the oven, otherwise one of the corners will be thicker and will be undercooked when the opposite corner starts to darken, compromising the final result.

Once it is baked, the farinata looks browned and crusty. You can spice it with rosemary or ground black pepper. In some regions, the farinata is garnished with mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese, sausage or stracchino (soft cheese).

How to serve

Nowadays, the farinata is usually served in wedges, garnished with vegetables and combined with sparkling red wine, whose astringency balances the tastiness of chickpea flour. Its easy preparation makes the farinata a perfect snack, served like a piece of pizza in bakeshops or at takeaways.

Retailing

The farinata in Piemonte

Bennet, Crai, Gulliver, Punto Sma, Dimar, Auchan, Billa, Il Gigante, Coop, Carrefour, Eataly, Unes, Basko, Billa.

The farinata in Liguria

Crai, Punto Sma, Billa, Basko, Coop, Carrefour, Eataly.

The farinata in Italy

Bennet, , Auchan, Il Gigante, Coop, Eataly, Unes.