Gastronomy. Massa, dinner is
The culinary tradition of Massa and Carrara derives from the age-old popular customs and is connected to the produce of the land and to the agricultural activity of these territories.
Besides using the produce of the land and of stock-raising, the inhabitants of the Apuan territory learnt to feed on see-food: molluscs, mussels, limpets, sea-urchins, anchovies and little fried fishes.
The old persons often said that not a lot time ago, they fish for very good eels in the waterways of the town. Owing to the closeness of the two towns, their cuisine is very similar, it changes only in some details concerning preparation and flavouring.
One Massa's speciality is Biroldo, a kind of sausages, which can be obtained from the working of the pig's blood with some spices. The main course is Ravioli or Tordelli, small cases of home-made paste filled with meat, eggs, beet, Parmesan cheese, which are seasoned with ragout.
Polenta is a popular dish, which is prepared with white or maize meal and which can match with different sauces according to the season: mushrooms, game, stockfish or white meal as the white Polenta with stewed rabbit, but the most famous one is "Polenta Ficca", a soup with beans, vegetables and white or maize meal. It is an appetising and nourishing dish, which can be considered a single course. To prepare it, one needs beans, savoy cabbage, borage, some nettle without thorn, pumpkin, beet, potatoes, bacon-fat, carrot, onion, celery, sage, parsley, salt, soup cube, tomato-sauce, and olive oil. First of all boil the beans with soup herbs, sage and a pinch of salt and when the cooking is finished, pass the half of it through a sieve putting then it in the boiled water and setting the rest aside. Then mince together sage, onion, carrot, parsley and celery and fry slightly in olive oil with a piece of bacon-fat. Let an half soup cube dissolve in a glass of warm water, add it to the browned onion with tomato-sauce and pepper to taste. Let it cook for a few minutes, then add the browned onion to the mashed beans with the other washed and cut vegetables. When these vegetables are cooked, put in the casserole the beans which have been set apart. Now add slowly the maize sieved meal and stirring continuously cook for 20 - 25 minutes. Serve it in soup-plate with oil or let it get hard and cold, cut it into slices and fry it in olive oil.
The rice cake is very good and is contended with Carrara for its origin.
Fresh milk, 10 or 12 eggs, sugar, rice, lemon-curd, and (if you like it) liqueurs as anise or alkermes are necessary to prepare this cake. Boil the rice and let it became cold, then beat the eggs with sugar in a large pot with a fork, Add the grated lemon-curd, the liqueur, the rice, the boiled cold milk and stir them. Spread a baking-pan with butter, put the mixture inside and bake it for 1 hour.
When cooked the cake should have a brown-golden colour.
The sunny hill surrounding the town are cultivated with vines and are well known by the fond of good wine for the production of Candia, which boast of the Doc mark (controlled origin's certification).
The wine Candia of the Apuan hill is a new product with an harmonic fruit taste and can be served with refined dish, fish, white meat, crustacean but also with the most traditional cooking of this territory. It has to be served cold, even as aperitif.
In the many restaurants along the coast, very good dishes with fish and crustacean can be enjoyed: from the hors-d'oeuvre with see-food, to the ravioli filled with fish, to risotto, gnocchi, spaghetti seasoned with hen clams, mussels, scampi and so on.