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Gastronomic specialties of Monte di Procida: the casatiello and the cistecca

Monte di Procida is located at the extreme tip that borders the Gulf of Naples, on a wonderful promontory that represents the terminal part of the Phlegrean peninsula, facing the island of Procida. And it is precisely a narrow stretch of sea that separates the promontory of Monte di Procida from the island of Procida. Due to its position, so particular and suggestive, Monte di Procida is known for being the terrace of the Campi Flegrei, characterized by many panoramic points that guarantee a wide and spectacular view. Monte di Procida had its recognition as an independent municipality thanks to the work of Ludovico Quandel, in 1907. He, an officer in the Bourbon army, decided to retire to private life in this very beautiful place.

Monte di Procida has its own particular gastronomic history, characterized by two protagonists: the casatiello montese and the cistecca montese.

The casatiello montese

The casatiello is a sweet Easter bread, created right in the Montesi houses.

It is a sweet characterized by a unique texture and an aroma, a flavor and a scent that remain imprinted forever. The preparation of the casatiello is a real ritual that involves the whole house and the whole family for at least two days and one night.

A collective ritual, therefore, in which each family member has his own precise task, attributed on the basis of the skills and specializations acquired from year to year.

The casatiello was born as a product to be consumed during the Easter period; today, however, it is also associated with other times of the year, such as, for example, the periods of return of Montesi citizens residing abroad.

The traditional production area is limited to the territory of Monte di Procida. Just go a little further, in the neighboring Phlegrean municipalities, to find no trace of this tradition. Indeed, in the other Phlegrean municipalities, the casatiello is the typical Neapolitan one, or the traditional salty Easter bread.

The ingredients and the process that make casatiello montese special are linked to: exclusive use of criscito, animal lard or vegetable preparation, orange juice and garden lemon peel for flavoring, eggs (preferably locally sourced), Strega liqueur and leavening times not less than 48 hours.

Precisely to protect and enhance these particularities, the municipal administration of Monte di Procida has decided to recognize the montese casatiello as a traditional Easter dessert, with the De.Co municipal regulation, defining it precisely as “A dessert of ancient origins directly related to those of Monte di Procida and the identity values of its community”.

The recipe of casatiello montese

For every kilogram of flour, a sweet casatiello of 28 centimeters in diameter is obtained

  • 250 g of sourdough
  • 1 kg of flour
  • 500 g of sugar
  • 3 eggs + 5 yolks
  • 200 g of lard
  • 1 cup of Strega liqueur
  • 1 orange (juice and peel)
  • 1 grated lemon
  • 1 sachet of vanillin
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 very small pinch of cinnamon


  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g of sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

Now let’s try to tell this recipe, as a real family ritual in which each person has their own task!

First processing
In a large bowl, the person in charge of the family pours the sourdough and begins to refresh it, using warm water. She then proceeds, beating energetically, simulating a real slap, while, at the same time, the other members of the family prepare to add a whole egg, 50 grams of sugar and 50 grams of flour to the dissolved yeast. Then proceed by continuing to work the mixture until you obtain a lump-free and quite liquid mixture. At that point, it is necessary to cover the bowl containing the mixture with a lid, wrap it in a wool blanket, and then leave it to rise, in the heat, for 12 hours.

Second processing
After 12 hours, once the dough in the bowl has risen, add two whole eggs, 100 grams of sugar and 100 grams of flour. These additions should be made gradually, while another person beats the dough vigorously for at least 5 minutes. The aim is to obtain a compound in which all the ingredients have been perfectly absorbed and the dough appears free of lumps and weakly consistent. The bowl is covered once again with the lid, wrapped in a woolen blanket and left to rise, in the heat, for another 12 hours.

Third processing
After 12 hours, what has already been done during the second processing is repeated. The bowl is covered once again with the lid, wrapped in a woolen blanket and left to rise, in the heat, for another 12 hours.

Fourth processing
After another 12 hours, the family proceeds by adding the remaining sugar, five egg yolks, a cup of Strega, the grated peel of a lemon and an orange, the juice of the , vanillin, salt and a very small pinch of cinnamon (not too much to prevent the dough from taking on a dark colour), the lard melted over the heat. In this phase it is necessary to pay the utmost attention, in order to combine all the ingredients together. Then proceed by greasing the donut pan with a little lard. In the traditional màdia, the remaining flour is poured into a fountain and then mixed with the dough, which is poured gradually. Making large movements with the hands, the ingredients are mixed together, working this fragrant dough which, as the suet thickens, becomes increasingly heavy and difficult to manage. Once you have obtained a loaf, you proceed, with your hands greased with suet, to stretch the dough horizontally, twisting it on itself and delicately placing it in the pan, where it must remain to rise for at least another 24 hours, always in the heat.

After 24 hours of leavening, it is cooked in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for about an hour and a half. At the same time, the family members involved prepare the couverture by pouring two egg whites, the juice of half a lemon and 50 grams of sugar into a container. The mixture is whipped, obtaining a fragrant and white cloud, which is then sprinkled abundantly on the freshly baked casatiello, also adding delicious colored sprinkles.

Montese cistecca


The cistecca is a stuffed sandwich, typical of Monte di Procida, which contains roasted meat and scamorza cheese, to which lettuce or other mixed vegetables are then added. The cistecca recalls in its name the well-known American cheese steak which – although it may seem strange to those who do not know its history – is actually a 100% Italian dish.

In fact, it is enough to go to the origin of this product to understand the reasons for this Italian spirit. The birth of the cistecca took place in the early 1930s by two Italian brothers, Pat and Harry Olivieri. Emigrated to Philadelphia, the two brothers sold hot dogs on the street to support themselves. One day, not having found the typical sausages, to replace them, they decided to ask a butcher for another type of meat that could be easily cooked on the grill. The butcher handed them thin slices of beef. Pat, to enrich the dish, then thought of using a little cheese, adding it to the sandwich: thus the tasty cheese-steak was born, which, within a few years, established itself as a true symbolic product of Philadelphia and then of all the American East coast.
The cheese steak was present above all on the menus of restaurants and pubs launched by the first generations of Italian-Americans.

Cistecca Montese, today, is promoted in the area by a special consortium: both the product and the institution that protects it are born from the experience of entrepreneurs from Montese in the US catering sector. And it is this special combination that represents the essence of the product and becomes its distinctive element.

If one looks at the recent history of the community of Monte di Procida, one discovers, in fact, that many have sought and achieved success in the United States, above all in the catering sector. These entrepreneurs, returning to their homeland, wanted to enhance the work experience lived abroad, creating a truly unique dish of street food, a real food and wine excellence. The Cistecca, in 2020, obtained the De.Co. – Municipal name.

This product is also important for the Montese area because a supply chain revolves around it that includes other commercial, artisanal and agricultural activities: just think of the production of bread or the cultivation and transformation of agricultural products, to understand how many local actors are involved in the making of the steak and in its recognized quality.
A further important organizational step then takes place in 2014, when a group of entrepreneurs meets in a consortium in order to protect this sandwich.

The cistecca presents itself today as an extraordinary product: an ovoid-shaped sandwich, characterized by a special crunchiness, and a superlative fragrance; a sandwich in which the unmistakable flavor of grilled bread marries in perfect balance with the taste of beef and that of stringy scamorza. All then enriched by the flavors of the most varied side dishes of the Montese culinary tradition. Precisely to guarantee the quality and uniqueness of the product, a production specification was defined and a collective trademark was filed.

More info on the site: Home | Cistecca Montese


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