Biscotti di meliga (‘biscutin d’meira’ in dialect), cornmeal biscuits, are part of the Piedmontese tradition.
The version offered adheres to the strictest production protocols, which envisage the use of wholemeal ottofile cornmeal.
Ottofile (literally ‘eight rows’) corn is named after the number of rows of kernels on its cob.
It is a native variety of exceptional quality of the upper Langa hills, but is often supplanted by more profitable American hybrids.
Ottofile corn is now enjoying a new lease of life in the area, thanks to the insight of enlightened farmers and the contribution of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.
AREA OF PRODUCTION
The area of production is Piedmont, Italy, especially the Cuneo area from which they have spread to the neighbouring provinces of Turin and Asti and, further afield, Biella.
26% Ottofile cornmeal, butter, type 0 wheat flour, cane sugar, eggs, baker’s yeast (cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, potato flour), salt.
CORNMEAL AND FLOUR
Strictly organic and acquired from two of the finest local mills:
Mulino Marino Felice in Cossano Belbo, Piedmont, Italy.
A mill producing natural stone-ground organic flour, conferred with a Piedmont Regional Authority certificate for ‘Artisanal Excellency’;
Mulino Sobrino in La Morra, Piedmont, Italy.
A mill producing flours from the finest Langa soft grain varieties, involved in a research project designed to revive and reuse heirloom native soft grain varieties.
The butter of the Fattorie Fiandino farms in Villafalletto, Piedmont, Italy.
Made exclusively with the cream – left to rest for 72 hours – from the milk of free-range Bruna Alpina cattle.
The eggs of the Agricola F.lli Rosso farm in Sommariva Perno, Piedmont, Italy.
Ethically selected high-quality sugar acquired from Soc. coop. sociale Libero Mondo, a social cooperative in Bra, Piedmont, Italy.
Prepared directly on the premises at the artisan workshop.
Biscotti di meliga – biscutin d’meira, or cornmeal biscuits are produced by pastry chef Gianfranco Tibaldi in his ‘Laboratorio di pasticceria artigianale Tibo’ workshop at Strada dei Magliani 47 Frazione Scaparoni, Alba, Piedmont, Italy.
The workshop produces traditional Piedmontese confectionery with artistic flair, often revisiting it with imaginative innovativeness.
Gianfranco Tibaldi refuses to compromise over the quality of his ingredients and produces everything himself, entirely by hand and with huge passion.
Cornmeal biscuits – biscutin d’meira are made from a dough that is kneaded for about 20 minutes.
Loose kneading of the dough makes for a biscuit that is crumbly to the right degree without being over-fragile.
To make the dough, the butter and sugar cane are creamed in a mixer.
The eggs and then the ottofile cornmeal, type 0 wheat flour, salt and yeast are gradually folded into the mixture.
When the dough is ready, using a special pastry bag with a serrated nozzle, it is piped into baking tins and shaped into biscuits.
The typically oblong biscuits are baked in the oven for about 15 minutes at 160°C.
PERIOD OF PRODUCTION
Cornmeal biscuits – biscutin d’meira are produced continuously and may be bought and consumed all year round.
The cornmeal biscuits, which are free from preservatives, have an average life of 120 days from their date of production (check the ‘best before’ date on the box).
They should be eaten at the end of the meal with an espresso coffee, a glass of moscato or, as is the custom in the Langa hills, dunked in warm moscato-flavoured zabaglione.
Gianfranco Tibaldi’s tip is to enjoy them in autumn, listening to ‘A Foggy Day’ (1956) by The Red Garland Trio.