La Pezzata (The “Pieced”)

 The vivid bond between Capracotta and his pastoral tradition lives again in the "Pezzata", the feast of grilled lamb and sheep boiled with aromatic herbs. It is currently one of the most important events that enliven the summer of Molise and is held annually on the first Sunday of August in the beautiful frame of the plain of Prato Gentile, attracting thousands of people also from neighboring regions.

On this occasion, it is possible to spend a nice relaxing day in close contact with nature, getting an excellent reception by the Pro Loco of Capracotta, which makes every effort to ensure a quality service. It is no coincidence, in fact, that day has been named hospitality day. As a memory of the event, visitors receive a nice souvenir consisting of a wooden fork, a bowl and a glass of terracotta.

This typical local dish, is distinguished by its simplicity and easy availability of essential ingredients for its preparation, cleverly measured by expert hands to enhance its taste and preserve its flavor according to the ancient recipe of our pastors.

In the early 60s the Municipality of Capracotta decided to organize a festival that could make known a traditional Capracotta dish, whose recipe reflected the roots and the origins of its pastoral people, to the entire Molise region and beyond. Thus the festival of Pezzata was born and, despite some interruptions, it now counts over 40 editions.

The origin of this dish dates back to the days when transhumance from the upper Molise mountains to the plains of Puglia was common practice. It sometimes happened that some animal became crippled when crossing a river or wading across a more inaccessible place, so it was no longer able to continue the journey. Then it fatally became the dinner for the shepherds, who could cook the animals after having chopped it to pieces ("depezzato"), with the few things available to such a caravan on the road.

To confirm the rule that wants simple things to be the most delicious, the Pezzata, from an emergency dish for pastors, has become a delicacy for connoisseurs. The key ingredient is obviously the meat of sheep that acquires its particular taste thanks to the high ground pastures where animals firm up their muscles (which will become meat) grazing for miles in mountain meadows, which are quantitatively less rich than the corresponding plain ones but qualitatively far more nutritious. The meat is cooked in large pots filled with water. The first step is the "skimming", i.e. the removal of excess fat that has surfaced as a result of cooking. After that, salt is added as well as some potatoes (even with peel), which continue to absorb the grease released during the long cooking time (at least 4 hours), and a few tomatoes to give color to the broth without making it however too red. This is the basic recipe. Variations of the recipe contemplate the addition of other herbs like celery, carrots, onions and a pinch of red pepper.