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Pumpkin of lower Mantua and Casalasco

In the Mantua region, the pumpkin of the gourd-bearing vine family found its ideal habitat, and from the 16th century onwards, acted as a model for bottles and straw-lined flasks. As of today, the Mantua farms cultivate a multitude of pumpkin varieties. The Marina di Chioggia variety is round with flattened top and bottom, and has a wrinkled skin and colour ranging from grey to green. The pulp is compact, sweet and very tasty. It is considered the best among the kitchen pumpkins. The Americana instead, is round, with protruding ribs. The colour of its skin is variably mottled, and is generally orange and green. The pumpkin is picked month of August, and is left in the sun to mature up to November and then cooked and enjoyed during winter. On Christmas eve, the pumpkin is served at the table of all Mantua citizens, as a filling in the famous tortelli, baked in the oven, mixed with grana cheese, pickled fruit Mostarda, amaretti-almond biscuits and nutmeg. Thanks to its properties, the pumpkin is used in many recipes of soups, broths, cakes and pastries, omelets, grilled or baked items, and in jams. (Pictures courtesy of the Food and Wine Roads Federation of Lombardy)