Toc a typical dish of the Bellagio area, at one time was only prepared upon the occasions such as weddings and baptisms, the farmers used what they produced: flour, butter and cheese made from the milk of their cows. Toc was a rich dish - given the remarkable quantities of butter and cheese that is necessary and suitable for celebrating special occasions. The cauldron with Toc was placed at the center of the hall and the guests sat around it in a circle, as is still done today.
The recipe: 200 grams of butter, 200 grams of cheese and half a liter of water per person; further, local corn meal should be used - other types of flour aren’t suitable, in that they don’t absorb the butter and cheese well. Moderating the heat is fundamental so the polenta doesn’t stick to the cauldron. When it is cooked, add the butter then the cheese, cut into pieces, and blend them little by little, and stirring continually with the rodech. If a step goes wrong, Toc releases the butter and is no longer edible. It’s not an easy preparation; only an expert can do it well. Once it’s eaten, and the cauldron is emptied, move on to the preparation of the ragell. The basic ingredient is red wine to which is added: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sugar, orange and lemon zest and an apple cut into pieces. The fact that the cauldron isn’t perfectly cleaned is curious the leftovers of Toc get left in, which will give a characteristic taste to the drink. The Toc maestro then puts the cauldron back on the fire with the wine and spices and at that point, thanks to the heat, the alcohol contained in the wine evaporates and ignites, creating a scenery effect of a cauldron in flames.
Once the alcohol has vaporized, the ragell is ready to enjoy. The cauldron is then taken from the fire and placed back in the center of the room where the beverage is served using a wooden. Poured while still steaming into a wooden bowl, it is then passed between the various diners who are once again sitting in a circle around the cauldron: one single bowl for everyone from which everyone from which one-by-one will drink. And it’s in this ritual, in this sharing, that – enhanced even by the wine’s power – the group’s socialization reaches its climax.
Based on the book: Tacàa al fööch by Lucia Sala - Editions Cesarenani.
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