Schitte: a traditional Italian snack of the Oltrepò Pavese

harvest italian wine grapesWine making is a labour intensive job, all year round, pruning, weeding, binding, spraying, harvesting, all done by hand in the more traditional wine area’s such as the Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy. The occasional holiday (one day off) has to be squeezed in somewhere, when for a moment the plants can be left alone. Sundays and festivities are not meant for the workers in the vineyards.

A snack in the vineyards

schitte italian snackIn summer they rise very early, when temperatures are still reasonable, and they take long lunch break at the hottest hours of the day, when 40 degrees Celsius or more make working the vineyard impossible. Their morning breakfast is simple and fast, but as work is energy consuming, they need something rich to eat later in the morning. It is then that the wives arrive in the vineyards, with a very traditional type of food, the schitta, easy to make and easy to transport to the fields, without need to keep warm.

The schitta is a kind of fried pancake, thin and tasty, made of flour, salt and water, with either onions or maize and sugar added to it. Just mix flour with cold sparkling water (the carbonic acid helps to make the pancake more airy), avoiding clumps to form, add some salt, and maize and sugar or sliced onion and cook in olive oil in a pan. Ready! Surprisingly tasty, given the simple recipe.

Many thanks to local expert chef Leda, at her Bagarellum restaurant in the region. Images courtesy of her cookery class… grazie Leda!

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