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Roveja (wild pea)

A Regional Umbrian Product

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Roveja is a wholesome local product of the region of Umbria, in the centre of Italy, close to Tuscany. Roveja can only be harvested by hand, by bending down with a scythe, which is very labour-intensive. This fact has discouraged the cultivation of Roveja to the point that this small but tasty pea is relatively unknown today. Roveja is a small wild pea with a dark brown, reddish, purple or dark green colour.  Its rough beauty is quite appealing. Its flavour is intense and not pea-like, more like fava beans (fave). The Roveja wild pea was grown for centuries on high altitude terrain in the Colfiorito Mountains, in Umbria, where it was part of the staple diet of the local population. Roveja almost disappeared from tables completely until it was recovered by some farmers in Colfiorito devoted to the research of wholesome regional food, and is now an extremely rare, niche product.  We are thankful for the efforts made to prevent the disappearance of this ancient legume from our tables. When a food and the traditions attached to it are saved, we become richer. Roveja is a protein-rich food and a tasty and nourishing addition to soups.  Roveja is also excellent on toast or to make farecchiata (a kind of polenta). Roveja needs to soak in cold water before cooking. We can suggest you  several flavourful roveja-based dishes, which can also be tasted at Italian restaurants specializing in traditional home-style cooking.

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