Delicate Mantuan pumpkin
Everything you need to know about the Mantua pumpkin
The Mantuan pumpkin is a symbol of Mantua cuisine and boasts the prestigious title of Traditional Agri-Food Product (PAT). Its unique turban shape and its sweet and delicate flavor make it a much loved ingredient in the Lombard culinary tradition. In this article, we will explore the history and characteristics of this prized pumpkin variety.
The origins of the Mantua pumpkin
The Mantua pumpkin, scientifically known as Cucurbita maxima Duchesne subsp. maxima, is native to South America and has been cultivated in Europe since the 16th century. In Italy, it spread across the Po Valley countryside starting from the 18th century, thanks to the extension of cultivable areas. The pumpkin was already known at the time of the Gonzaga family in the 16th century and also appears in Renaissance frescoes. Initially, it was mainly used as food for animals or for the lower class, but later it spread to everyone's tables thanks to its low production cost and high yield. This allowed court cooks and country housewives to experiment with new and delicious pumpkin-based recipes.
The characteristics of the Mantua pumpkin PAT
The Mantua pumpkin stands out for its singular turban shape, the wrinkled grey-green rind and the firm, compact and not very fibrous pulp of a bright yellow/orange colour. Its sweet taste gives a unique flavor to the dishes in which it is used. The Mantua pumpkin is smaller than other varieties of the same species, weighing between 1 and 5 kg. Although it is a rustic variety with little production, it is appreciated for its strong and traditional taste.
Mantuan pumpkin and "Priest's Hat": similarities and differences
In recent years there has been some confusion between the Mantuan pumpkin and the "Cappello del Prete", another variety of pumpkin from the Mantua area. These are two different varieties, but both belong to the Cucurbita maxima species. The Mantua pumpkin has a rounded shape similar to a turban, while the "Priest's Hat" has two brims, an upper and a lower one, which resembles the hat of priests. Both varieties are considered excellences of Mantua biodiversity.
The production of the Mantua pumpkin
The Mantua pumpkin is a rustic annual plant that grows well in the Po Valley countryside. It has good drought and pest resistance and is easy to grow. The plant requires adequate space and deep, well-fertilized, soft and drained soil. Sowing takes place in spring, when temperatures have stabilized above 10°C. The harvest takes place in September, when the pumpkin has taken on a bright orange hue and the leaves and peduncle begin to dry. The pumpkin can be stored in a dry, dark and ventilated place for a few months, until the following spring.
The production area of the Mantua pumpkin
The production area of the Mantuan pumpkin includes around thirty municipalities in the Mantua area, concentrated around the Po river. This specificity of the product is closely linked to the characteristics of the territory and rural tradition. Throughout the province, the "Di pumpkin in pumpkin" event is held every year, which promotes the Mantuan pumpkin through tastings, cooking competitions, botanical and gastronomic lessons, farmers' markets and other events aimed at encouraging direct purchasing from local producers .
Not just tortelli: Mantua pumpkin in the kitchen
The Mantua pumpkin is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It can be used to prepare appetizers, first courses such as tortelli, risotto and gnocchi, soups, baked dishes and desserts such as jams and puddings. Roasted and salted courgette flowers and pumpkin seeds are also edible and offer new culinary possibilities. The Mantua pumpkin goes well with numerous ingredients, such as cured meats, cheeses, fish and shellfish, helping to create tasty and satisfying dishes.
Buy Mantua pumpkin with Frutt'it
If you are interested in purchasing Mantua pumpkin, you can find this fine product at Frutt'it. Frutt'it offers a vast selection of high quality agricultural products, including Mantua pumpkin, directly from local producers. By purchasing from the source, you can ensure that you get fresh, wholesome products.
Benefits of Mantua pumpkin
Mantua pumpkin is not only delicious, but also offers numerous health benefits. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which help support the immune system, improve eye health, promote heart health and regulate blood pressure. Mantua pumpkin is also a good source of fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight.
The Mantua pumpkin is a treasure of the Mantua culinary tradition. Its unique shape, sweet and delicate flavor and its many possibilities in the kitchen make it a much loved ingredient. Buy Mantua pumpkin at Frutt'it and discover the authentic taste of this high quality product. Experiment with new recipes and enjoy the many health benefits that Mantua squash offers.