For gourmets, the month of June has always been cheered up by the arrival of the delicious cherries, a fruit rich in nutritional properties. Diuretic, astringent, refreshing, rich in mineral salts such as potassium, iron and calcium, with a good content of vitamins A and C and a good balance between sugars and acids, cherries are the typical irresistible food that cannot be given up. The ripening takes place between the end of May and the whole month of June depending on the varieties which, in Italy, are 150 for a total national production of over 150 thousand quintals. Among the typical products of Emilia Romagna, one of the most famous is the Vignola Cherry or “Durone” which, since 2013, has obtained the important recognition of the I.G.P. (Protected Geographical Indication). In this town in the province of Modena, the exquisite “red balls” represent gastronomic excellence as well as a substantial economic resource as the production of cherries feeds a thriving market and industry. The Cherries of Vignola I.G.P., in fact, are consumed fresh, preserved and / or processed to obtain jams, jams, syrups and other specialties. In the liquor industry, they are an essential ingredient for producing Cherry-Brandy. In Vignola, the cherry is also the engine of cultural and folkloristic events including the “Cherry Blossom Festival” and the “A Vignola, it’s time for Cherries” festival and also the Vignola I.G.P. it has also won, several times, the national prize announced as part of the “Cherries of Italy” Competition, organized by the National Association “City of Cherries” and which takes place every year in a different Italian location.
Characteristics of the Vignola Cherry I.G.P.
The harvest of the Vignola Cherry I.G.P. takes place manually in the second half of May and the fruits are expertly placed inside crates and baskets in ways that preserve their integrity during transport. From the point of view of qualitative characteristics, the “Ciliegia di Vignola” must have a consistent and crunchy pulp with a color between pink and red, with the exception of Mora di Vignola. The flavor is sweet and fruity; the skin must always be shiny but the color varies according to the variety: bright yellow and red for the “Durone della Marca” and from bright red to dark red tending to black for all the other varieties. The varieties of Vignola or Duroni cherries are different. The “Durone Bigarreau” and the “Mora di Vignola” cherry ripen between May and June, which possesses the best qualities from an organoleptic point of view. In June, dark-colored corns ripen such as the classic “Durone Nero I” whose pulp is intense and tasty and the classic “Anella”, a fire-red cherry with a particularly consistent pulp. Then there are late varieties that are harvested in mid-June such as the Durone “Nero II” and the “Ciliegione”, tasty and nutritious. The I.G.P. (Protected Geographical Indication) recognized for the Vignola Cherry in 2013 refers to the fresh fruits of the following cherry cultivars: Bigarreau Moreau, Mora di Vignola (early), Durone dell’Anella, Anellone, Giorgia, Durone Nero I, Samba, Van ( medium), Durone II, Durone della Marca, Lapins, Ferrovia and Sweet Heart (late).
History of the Cherry
Cherry is a plant native to Asia which, according to St. Jerome, was brought to Italy in 68 BC. from Lucullus on his return from the Turkish city of Cerasonte. In medieval times, the monks took action to cultivate this plant which was at risk of extinction and planted it in their gardens. In the 16th century, the spread of the cherry tree intensified both for the quality of the fruit and for the value of the wood, particularly suitable for cabinet making and for making musical instruments such as flutes and organ pipes. During the nineteenth century, the consumption of cherries was reserved for the wealthiest classes and, the territory of Vignola, between the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, was mainly dedicated to the cultivation of mulberry which was linked to sericulture in turn source of raw material for silk. When the price of this fabric collapsed due to foreign competition, they resumed planting other fruit trees including the cherry tree, which became the main plant of Vignola and the surrounding areas.
Production area of the Vignola Cherry I.G.P.
The cultivation area of the Vignola Cherry corresponds to an area of about one thousand hectares between the provinces of Modena and Bologna which has soil and climatic characteristics such as to distinguish the fruits with unique qualities of excellence. In addition to Vignola, the cultivation area includes the following other municipalities: Castelfranco Emilia, Castelnuovo Rangone, Castelvetro di Modena, Guiglia, Lama Mocogno, Marano sul Panaro, Modena, Montese, Pavullo ne
l Frignano, San Cesario sul Panaro, Savignano sul Panaro, Serramazzoni, Spilamberto, Zocca, Bazzano, Casalecchio di Reno, Castel d’Aiano, Serravalle Castle, Crespellano, Gaggio Montano, Marzabotto, Monte S. Pietro, Monteveglio, Sasso Marconi, Savigno, Vergato and Zola Predosa.
Protection and Promotion of the Vignola Cherry I.G.P.
To exercise a form of promotion and protection of the Vignola Cherry, as well as the plum and other fruit that is grown in this area, in 1964 the “Consortium of Cherry, Plum and Typical Fruit of Vignola” was established, with headquarters in Vignola (MO), via dell’Agricoltura, 310. The Consortium, after careful checks on compliance with the production regulations on all stages of the production chain, issues the appropriate marks that certify the origin and quality of the products.