Those were the sad and difficult times of the Second World War in Italy… my region, Abruzzo was among the many places where the battle was fought. It had one of its most affected areas in the province of Chieti where the battle front was about twenty kilometers from my house, in the area of Ortona.
It was the time when in the stone houses built by the strong arms of our ancestors, the German soldiers occupied us and were preparing for the conflict, and in some of them the German soldiers prepared the artillery.
The kitchen in my house, where nowadays we have placed our dining tables and shiny tv’s, seventy years ago was just little more than a room, with little more than a solitary soldier with a cold accent, had as only duty to prepare the bombs night and day.
“It was hard to talk to him”, as my grandmother still tells us today, she was a little girl of little more than seven years old, she was the little scoundrel of the whole district, she wished to talk with that man. Italy was liberated in ’45, and that soldier disappeared forever, he left a gift to that little girl … gave her a little bar of dark bitter cocoa chocolate, a mark that remained indelible in the memory of my grandmother, represented for her an unexpected gesture as significant, a gift of gratitude for having been there to color the sad days spent building the artillery. She was grateful to him, she learned to make a cake, with her young pastry skills, helped by the older ones, she sent one to Germany, hoping that the stiff-haired man could keep a sweet memory of Abruzzo and its strong and kind character.
The three main ingredients of the crumbled cake, and their properties!
The chocolate! that is, we are more precise, the bitter cocoa is at the highest positions in the category of the much loved “superfoods” or those foods that nicely define “do so much good for a very specific reason” … certainly we all know the properties of bitter cocoa in how rich in vitamins, minerals and looks a bit is rich in polyphenols that limit the antioxidant action!
almonds, toasted in the oven enough to allow them to express the most fragrant fragrance, give the cake a good contrast of crunchiness, they are famous for being rich in anti oxidants, fiber, vitamins and mineral salts.
goat’s milk ricotta, a dairy product derived from milking and double cooking over high heat of milk and whey, an ingredient that is certainly not the most suitable in the slimming diet as it is rich in saturated fats (unfortunately) but also guarantees a rich and plenty of mineral salts, calcium, selenium, phosphorus and zinc abound, and vitamins, especially vitanine A, B2 and B12. the latter of great support to those who work on the development of muscle mass and frequently train the muscles of the legs and arms.
with our photos and our stories we are grateful to such beauty, certainly we did not talk about superfoods at the time of the war but our recipes, in Italy have always had to do with good living and the gesture of gratitude and love of the strong and kind Abruzzese people, open their arms to the future and to resilience!