In Italy, wild garlic, ‘Aglio d’orsino’ is named after the bears that relish a spring feast upon it. I haven’t ever seen it either growing near to me or sold which is a pity as I equally adore it, blending it with toasted almonds to make a pesto. But my luck is in I finally spotted it being advertised for sale in Abruzzo at the covered farmer’s market in San Vito Chietino, Mercarto Scoperto with demonstrations of how to use it! It bought a wave of longing for bluebell woods back in England. As a kid, the smell of wild garlic meant spring was really on her way. One lady used to give it away in our local city, she hated the pungent smell in her back garden but couldn’t bear killing it, so she picked it and left bags and bags of it ready for fans to pick up!
It’s not surprising that it was the Mercarto Scoperto at San Vito that was selling it. This food and craft market was created to help the public rediscover a sense of community, enjoying it as a moment of conviviality and country life that was inspired by the farmers’ markets of CampiAperti in Bologna. Not only do they sell but promote and educate on sustainability, organic, self-production and local craftsmanship as well as offer a seed exchange. It’s definitely a market in Abruzzo worth a visit and open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings! San Vito Chietino sits at the top of the Trabocchi Coast, with sweeping views down to the sea. Address Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 3, 66038 San Vito Chietino, website is their FB page.
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 1 Blender
- 100 g Wild Garlic Leaves
- 50 g Peeled Almonds
- 150 ml Olive Oil
- 1/2 Lemon, Juice Only
- 30 g Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese (Not Romana it's too salty)
- Salt and Pepper to taste, store in a jar in a fridge
- Wash and dry the wild garlic leaves.
- Dry roast almonds until golden
- Add the leaves together with the almonds, the lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil in a container and blend until you get a smooth sauce.
- Add grated cheese and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper according to taste and serve with pasta (it's particularly good on wholewheat pasta!!)