Tapulone di Borgomanero – The Tapulone of Borgomanero

Tapulone is an ancient dish in the tradition of Northern Piedmont. People serve Tapulone after having cooked it for 30 minutes. 

The name « Tapulone » is curious and evocative: it apparently originates from mythology. In reality, the name originates from the Piedmontese verb ciapulè, which means “chopping.” To cook Tapulone, people chopped donkey meat finely and mixed it with rosemary, cloves, salt, and local red wine. 

The Origin

Popular traditions are a jumble of interesting stories and narratives. Tapulone has its own story, too. 

The legend says that 13 starving pilgrims were on their way back from Orta San Giulio. While approaching Borgomanero, they realized they were worn-out. For this reason, they started looking for some food, as they had finished all their supplies, but they could not find any. As a consequence, they had to kill one of the donkeys that were with them in their pilgrimage and try to cook it. To attenuate the toughness of the donkey meat, they chopped it finely and cook it in wine. 

Pilgrims loved donkey meat cooked that way, and they thought it was a blessing. Therefore, they decided to stop and settle down exactly where they eat Tapulone the first time. 

In this way, they founded Borgomanero. Like every popular recipe, Tapulone teaches people how to cook simple ingredients.

The Classic Recipe

Borgomanero’s recipe for Tapulone is a very simple one and takes about 30 minutes.

You start by preparing a sofrito. You do so by putting either oil EVO or butter in a pan and make them fry together with minced onions and garlic. In the case of Tapulone, you also add bay leaves and rosemary. 

Once this mixture starts to fry – make sure that onion and everything does not get too gold – you add minced meat. Once you have added minced meat, you add battuto di lardo – in case you do not find lardo in your country, bacon works as well – savoy cabbage and aromatic herbs, making sure the heat is low. 

Once you have gathered all the ingredients together, you add abundant red wine, which should be a local one. 

Today, we cannot exactly reproduce the original recipe, as the meat and the way animals are bred is different, and wine, which used to be full of tannin, nowadays lacks tannin. 

Today, some variants of the original recipe, replace meat with beef or horse, and people sometimes add mushrooms and parsley. However, Tapulone is always a good, tasty and characteristic recipe.