The Fagiolo di Sorana is cultivated along the banks of the Pescia di Pontito in the province of Pistoia. This area, at a varying altitude of 220-750 metres above sea level, receives a high level of percipitation and is humid – conditions which are perfect for cultivating this legume.
Beans arrived in Italy from the New World along with corn and – in contrast to potatoes and tomatoes – were immediately adopted in to the local diet. The beans were planted in the summer and required care and a great deal of water to grow. In Tuscany the cultivation of beans spread quickly and in Sorana they were seen as a perfect crop for small pieces of land which were near water sources, such as rivers, wells and ditches.
In 2002, the Sorana bean obtained PGI (Protected Geographical Identification) certification, so the consumer today can be confident of its origins and the quality assurance of all stages of its production, packaging and distribution.
White or red, Fagiolo di Sorana has a thin skin which does not separate from the bean during cooking. The red Sorana bean has an elongated shape, almost cylindrical and and an intense flavour. The white variety is smaller than the cannellino bean, has a flattened shape which provides its local nickname “piattellino” or “little plate.” A pearly white colour with rose-coloured streaks and reflexions; once cooked the beans become a delicious purè.
At the table
The traditional method for cooking Sorana beans is “a fiasco” – left to soak in room temperature water the night before, the beans are boiled slowly in the soaking water in a glass flask with a large spout, or in a terracotta pot.