Let’s dive into Italy, right over the mountains, into the tiny 24 square mile country of San Marino. In this small enclave, there is no level ground. Indeed, every sunny vista is filled with the jawdropping scenery of a life “away from it all.”
In this land, tenacity is the name of the game.
Whenever San Marino comes up in conversation people like to ask how they managed to stay independent within Italy all these years. Why aren’t they just a part of Italy, they ask. For one, I think the difficult mountain terrain has provide a natural barrier (both physical and somewhat cultural), but also the people seem to be filled with good ol’ tenacity. One simply has to look at their determination to grow food in the rubble-like soil. Almost miraculously, they manage to produce a bounty of chestnuts, barley, fruit, and wheat in this small land.
The food is typical of Northeastern Italy, with specialties like Swallow’s Nests, spirals of filled noodles coated in bechamel and Parmesan [Recipe]… and then there’s pork slow cooked in milk and herbs [Recipe]. There’s also a famous dried fig and honey cake called Bustrengo, made with such regional mainstays as olive oil and polenta [Recipe]. More simple fare includes artichokes (we made stuffed artichokes for Italy), zucchini, potatoes, and just about any good, soft cheese.
A typical person from San Marino (a.k.a. a “Sammarinese“) would wash everything down with a glass of mineral water, or perhaps a nice cuppa coffee.
Wine goes without saying.
Have you ever been to this tiny country?
I’m ready to pack my bags and go!