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When it comes to specialty foods, Italy is full of them. There's so much to choose from: cheeses, wines, olive oils, pastas, meats, sweets...but there is also a wide spectrum of heirloom vegetables that are exquisite delicacies. Such is the case of the favetta di Fratte Rosa, a special type of broad bean grown for centuries in a small village near the eastern coast of Italy.
Favetta di Fratte Rosa: Background
The favetta or fava di Fratte Rosa is a type of broad bean (fava bean) grown in the town of Fratte Rosa, located in the scenic region of Marche.
Fratte Rosa is known for its clay-rich soil which contains limestone. This combination yields sweet and tender broad beans that are rich in polyphenols, protein, fiber, vitamins and mineral salt. These fava beans also have extraordinary antioxidizing properties.
This variety of fava bean is served as a side dish but also used in to make breads and pastas. Find more recipe ideas here.
Cultivation of These Heirloom Broad Beans
The Favetta di Fratte Rosa is sown in the second week of October; the maturation of the seed occurs at the beginning of May, that of the dry seed in the first ten days of June.
The botanical name is Vicia Faba Maior and is a native variety of Fratte Rosa. This broad bean is distinguished by its short pod that can contain a maximum of four seeds, large and round, particularly sweet and tender even when fully ripe.
In addition to Fratte Rosa, the production area of these broad beans extends to neighboring municipalities: the Barchi, San Lorenzo in Campo, Pergola and Mondavio areas.
Favetta di Fratte Rosa Awarded by Slow Food
The Favetta di Fratte Rosa was recently recognized as a native product of the Marche region by the Slow Food foundation, which helps preserve the biodiversity of food.
The broad beans were given 'Presidium' status, which means they are protected and recognized as an heirloom variety native to the area of production. It was an achievement that took 20 years in making, thanks to efforts by the municipality of Pesaro-Urbino and the Guardian Farmers, who have preserved and cared for native species.
An annual festival held the second weekend of May is dedicated to the favetta di Fratte Rosa. It is called the Festa della Fava di Fratte Rosa e dei Tacconi.