September is one of the best months to visit the Aeolian archipelagoespecially if it is “seasoned” with ideas and notes that do not only taste of the sea. As happens in Salina, the green island of the archipelago for its natural sources of fresh water that allow the vegetation to grow lushly, which in these days of late summer, hosts the sixteenth edition of the SalinaDocFestthe narrative documentary festival, founded and directed by Giovanna Taviani.
The theme chosen this year as leitmotif is Diasporas, Encounters and Metamorphoses and offers reflections on the contemporary historical scenario through the idea of travel. Among the new features on the program are two special sections: one dedicated to the environment with the aim of investigating the relationship between energies, islands and volcanoes, created in partnership with Green Salina Energy Days, the other created with the patronage of the Activity Production Department of the Sicilian Region, designed to enhance the small food realities of the island through the history of an unprecedented face of the territory and its traditional excellences. Speaking of sustainability, the national Isole.Doc prize is awarded to the director who has best interpreted the theme chosen in the United for the Environment competition.
There is therefore great excitement these days on the second largest island of the Aeolian Islands where until Sunday cinema and culture are “in the front row”. Filled with flavors with the many scheduled food and wine tours, including visits to wineries and curiosities for a travel itinerary that allows you to know, between projections and conversations, the excellence of Aeolian products: such as capers, malvasia, granitas, wine, oil, savory preserves and sweet preserves. A curiosity among many others of the small island, the fact that there are three municipalities: all the other towns of the Aeolian Islands share with Lipari, although the population is larger, while only in Salina there are three mayors and three municipal councils of three small villages: Santa Marina Salina, Leni and Malfa, which would seem absurd but the inhabitants of Salina are famous for their tendency to divide despite the fact that they all live on the same rock drawn by many beautiful beaches such as Punta Scario, the small fishing port of “Scalo Galera” and the beautiful bay of Pollara known for the scenes of the unforgettable film “Il Postino” by Massimo Troisi. The cinema is part of the history of Salina, a magnificent open-air setting animated this weekend by a coming and going of Italian and international actors and directors with numerous events open to all: screenings of documentaries in competition , to the eno – cinematographic encounters (visions at sunset of great Italian films accompanied by tastings of wines from the island), up to tributes dedicated to the great protagonists of the history of Italian cinema such as Gassman, Tognazzi and Morricone.
The highly anticipated documentary Donpasta alle Aeolie // First Chapter: Salina produced by the Department of Productive Activities of the Sicilian Region, born from an idea by Giovanna Taviani and Donpasta, chef, food theorist and director under the direction of the latter, presented tomorrow (September 17, 9:30 p.m.) in a spectacular show between music and cuisine that transforms Malfa Square into a fascinating stage and an improvised show kitchen for the history and enhancement of the gastronomic excellence of agri-food productions of the island green of the Aeolian Islands. During the thirty minutes of the documentary, the stories of the small heroic producers of the island are told between the beauty of the wind landscape and the local specialties.
Thus Maurizia from the Roberto Rossello farm, who continues with passion the work begun by her son many years ago, tells how in his memory she refined the recipe for candied caper, today the company’s product of excellence. . But also Tindaro, known as Ulysses, who became Salvatore D’amico’s right-hand man, explains the reasons that brought him closer to the organic production of capers, wine and oil. And then Michele Oliva describes the relationship with his land by growing Siccagno tomatoes in a volcanic basin from which he obtains an exceptional jam. But Daniela Virgona also shows the history of her family that has always cultivated capers and vines and explains how over time she has managed to create interesting products transforming the excellence of her territory in an innovative and playful way, as well Malvasia and caper beers are born. , Malvasia sparkling wine and some curious savory jams such as onion jam and Malvasia. Or Francesca Cincotta who delights the guests of the Residence Hotel Al Belvedere every day with an unforgettable breakfast and jams made with fruits from the island. Maria Volante, on the other hand, together with her husband Luigi Ramaglia manages the small farmhouse La Rosa Bianca and continues a totally artisanal production of Malvasia and sweet jams, among the most popular specialties of the house the dried figs of Malvasia.
And then Alfredo and Angelo Olivieri with their inimitable and colorful artisanal natural granitas. The stories of the winemakers who in Salina give life to a legendary Malvasia could not be missing, so Donpasta meets Carlo Hauner, son of the famous painter from Brescia who arrived on the island in the 1960s, who tells how he decided not to is no longer leaving to devote himself to the production of his now multi-award winning Malvasia. Or Diego and Clara who passionately produce sapid and mineral wines suspended between land and sea in their company Barbanacoli, and Valerio, a young sommelier from the Capofaro estate who tells the story of the Anfiteatro vineyard and the precious possessions of the Counts Tasca D’Almerita from Palermo.
During the SalinaDocFest it is possible to visit the characteristic cellars of the island and discover the most interesting artisan realities through guided tours, on all the capers, which are also the presidium of Slow Food, and precisely the malvasia for which Salina is famous throughout the world: sweet wine produced with grapes harvested in the first half of September whose bunches are exposed in terraces so that drying in the sun helps to reach the right sugar content. While the caper (capparis spinosa, evergreen) was considered the queen of steep walls and inaccessible areas, protagonist of Mediterranean and Sicilian cuisine composed of healthy and tasty recipes in which this round, compact and fragrant bud “always enters “. The buds, called capers, and the fruits, called cucunci, are eaten by the plant. They are both preserved in oil, vinegar or salt. To be enjoyed in a thousand ways between a catch and a dip in the sea.
Finally, Salina is also home to two particularly suggestive archaeological sites in the area of Serro dell’Acqua, in Santa Marina, where a path leads to the Saracen caves, dug into the tuff and hidden by dense vegetation, used as a refuge to escape the atrocious barbarism. committed by the Saracens in 650 AD. Also worth visiting is the archaeological site of Portella, a village from the Middle Bronze Age (15th-13th century BC) of great beauty and an exceptional conservation on a steep volcanic ridge which can be traversed on foot by a long staircase from where to admire panoramic views of the horizon.