What do Italians eat for their New Year Dinner?
Lentils & Pig Trotter
What’s pig trotter?
Pig trotter (zampone) is pig foot stuffed with various minced pork pieces – shoulder (spalla), jaw muscles (massetere), pig cheek area (gola), tender pig rind (cotenna) mixed with herbs, wine and cinnamon.
What makes pig trotter so special?
Very simply said – it’s origin. It was not intended as a Christmas delicacy but instead it was originally invented out of necessity. In fact, legend has it that it was invented by the inhabitants of the beautiful Renaissance fortified town of Mirandola, just near Modena in Emilia Romagna.
Story says that while the town was under siege by the Papal army of Pope Julius II (Sistine Chapel/Michelangelo’s Pope), the townspeople needed a way to preserve food supplies. They took every scrap of food possible and decided to stuff minced pork meat into pig’s legs and trotters to best preserve it!
While lentils symbolize money (and therefore the riches in the New Year), the richness of pig trotter (zampone) brings plenty and abundance!