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The Teramanian Virtues

  • 64100 Teramo TE, Italia
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The virtues are a very rich soup of first fruits of the season, wisely mixed with all the leftovers of the winter pantry and which is consumed on the first of May in Teramo. April 30th was considered by the peasant calendar as the watershed between the end of winter and the beginning of the fertile season. In honor of the goddess Maja (from which May) in order to propitiate the fertility of the land and the abundance of the harvest, in the peasant culture was celebrated a rite, a propitiatory dish for the summer, so that the season would allow to have a sufficient harvest for the whole following winter. Legend has it that virtues are called codì because they had to be prepared by 7 virgins, using 7 legumes, 7 aromas, 7 meats, 7 seasonal vegetables, 7 types of pasta, all cooked in 7 hours... 7, because there are 7 Christian virtues. In short, the virtues are a truly exceptional dish, normally to prepare it takes from 7 to 10 days, operation for real dragons in the kitchen! The name has uncertain origins but it seems to be linked to the concept of making a virtue out of necessity, that is the art of reworking leftovers and making do with what is available in the kitchen at a certain time of the year - without accessibility to supermarkets and refrigerators of course. The preparation of this first course, as we have already said, which looks like a brothy pasta, is very long and complex: each ingredient is cooked separately and then incorporated in the callara, the typical copper or aluminum pot of Abruzzo which is hung to the chain of the fireplace and cooks on a high fire. Dry legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils), fresh legumes (peas, broad beans), seasonal vegetables, meat (especially pork), various types of pasta and aromatic herbs are added. The recipe of course varies from family to family, each with their own tricks to make their virtue special.

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