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Paste di Meliga: the ancient shortbreads of the Cuneo area

Fans of the most delicious traditional gastronomy in Cuneo will not miss the opportunity to taste the Paste di Meliga, an ancient and delicious Piedmontese shortbread. These sweets, which have become a Slow Food Presidium and were created almost by coincidence, were invented out of necessity after a fruitless harvest that had led to a rise in the cost of flour. According to tradition and the studies of historians, the Pasta di Meliga has very ancient origins but is difficult to date, with references to the rural culture of the province of Cuneo, particularly in the Mondovì area. Following the increase in the cost of raw material, bakers were forced to find alternative solutions, trying to mix flour with corn wheat, a product that was used specifically for dessert recipes and Polenta.

It was an improvised recipe, but it was created by expert hands which gave life to a shortbread with a delicious and crumbly taste, given just by the hints of this very particular flour. According to tradition, Paste di Meliga or "Paste 'd melia" in Piedmontese dialect, are obtained from a mix of wheat flour and ancient Piedmontese corn from which they take their name, as "melia" means corn in Piedmontese. To this mixture are then added popular and natural ingredients, such as butter, sugar, honey, eggs and lemon peel. After kneading them, the bakers create biscuits with a shape that can be round or rectangular, with the scent of the history and popular tradition of Cuneo.

Originally, Paste di Meliga biscuits were eaten at the end of a meal, dipping them in a good glass of Barolo, passito or moscato wine, according to taste. Today, instead, they have become a perfect accompaniment for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Book a flight to Cuneo and immerge yourself in the history of Italian food and wine, with a biscuit that recalls the unmistakable flavours of the best Piedmontese tradition.

 

Ph. Credits: “Creatori di eccellenza – dolci d’autore – Archivio Confartigianato Cuneo”
in collaboration with ATL Cuneese