Cupello: The Heart of Flavor – The Tradition of Mazzaferrata Artichoke

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In the heart of Abruzzo, amidst the fertile hills of the province of Chieti, lies a village that tells centuries of history and passion: Cupello.

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The history of Cupello is intertwined with that of the D’Avalos, marquises of Vasto, a city very close to the village (and our base), who in 1456, after the earthquake that shook the region, promoted agriculture by introducing colonies of slaves.

It is from this bond that the old name of Cupello, “Villa degli Schiavoni” (Villa of the Slaves), was born.

However, archaeological finds and ancient ruins of a Roman villa suggest that the roots of Cupello sink even deeper, to the pre-Roman era.

Over the centuries, Cupello has fought for its independence and identity, resisting natural, economic, and social calamities.

Among the ancient streets of the village, there is a vibrant atmosphere of tradition, resilience, and love for the land that has shaped the generations of Cupello’s inhabitants, blending with the inviting scents of an iconic vegetable:  il “Carciofo Mazzaferrata” or “Carciofo di Cupello” (the Mazzaferrata artichoke or Cupello Artichoke).

This local ecotype, which traces its roots back to the distant Campagnano, is much more than a simple vegetable.

An original late-cycle Roman variety, the Mazzaferrata Artichoke owes its unique characteristics to the generous Abruzzo soil and the passion of its growers.

Its elongated and plump shape, green color with violet hues, and above all its bold and sweet taste, make it a true gastronomic gem.

Artichoke cultivation in Cupello began in the post-war period, as an alternative to cereal crops, and the production proved so profitable that it prompted farmers to join the San Rocco Cooperative, founded in 1961 and still active today.

Today, thanks to the joint efforts of the Chieti Chamber of Commerce and producer organizations, the Cupello Artichoke has obtained recognition as a collective community trademark and a production specification has been adopted.

In more recent times, it has also been awarded the prestigious Slow Food presidium title and is part of the Traditional Agri-Food Products (PAT).

But it is not only its presence in the fertile countryside that attracts attention, it is also its sweet homage to the rich history that makes Cupello a unique place of its kind.

In fact, this connection with ancient history is also reflected in the creation of a local icon: the Mazzaferrata artichoke-shaped pizzelle iron, proudly crafted by master craftsmen.

And what better way to celebrate this delicacy than with a dedicated festival, held every April in Cupello?

During this event, the streets of the village fill with life and joy, as inhabitants and visitors come together to honor the artichoke in all its forms.

It is a moment where history and modernity perfectly intertwine, with dishes expertly prepared by the skilled hands of the villagers, showcasing all their love for the land and its cuisine.

Creative energies flow into every dish, from the classic stuffed artichoke, to fresh pasta dressed with artichoke ragout, to the innovative creations of young local chefs.

Every bite is a journey through time and the spirit of the Cupello community, proudly carrying on the culinary traditions of their ancestors.

The Mazzaferrata Artichoke Festival is not only an opportunity to enjoy local delicacies, but also a moment of sharing, celebrating the culture and identity of Cupello.

It is an experience that leaves an indelible mark on the hearts and palates of those who have the privilege of participating, making Cupello a place to love and remember forever.

And if you don’t want to miss out on a delicious extra recipe with artichokes, be sure to check out Mamma Anna Maria‘s artichoke lasagna, available here: Cooking With Mamma: homemade lasagne with artichokes

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