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“Going to squid”: from tradition to the Capraiese saying

“Going to squid”: from tradition to the Capraiese saying

Capraia’s strategic position, between the Ligurian Sea and the Upper Tyrrhenian Sea, has made it a crossroads of traditional flavours, where fish is undoubtedly the protagonist in the kitchens and restaurants scattered along the port’s terraces. The squid is undoubtedly a key ingredient.

The “totano” is the squid for the people of Capraia: rich in mineral salts, and low in fat and calories, its meat is of excellent quality, and becomes tender and delicate when cooked to perfection.

The main event on Capraia, the Squid Festival, is dedicated to this mollusc, and, for the last twenty years, it has been held on the last weekend of October, the fishing season. It is an event not to be missed by all the island’s inhabitants, and not only.

Squid fishing has been practised by everyone in Capraia since time immemorial, so much so, that the inhabitants have coined the expression “Andare a totani” (going to squid), as a reminder to go out and fish for this mollusc.

Today, the Squid Festival is a real fishing competition, involving different groups of participants, both from land and sea, with sailing boats and motor boats. On their return, the participants compete at the crucial moment of weighing the squid: the showdown, in the form of a real ceremony, to decide the winner of the competition.

The following day, the squid is cooked in a multitude of different ways, at the stands along the harbour quay, for the satisfaction of all palates: fried squid, rice with squid, squid couscous, squid with herbs, squid with potatoes, Zerri pickled squid and many other dishes.

Every year, the local restaurants, with the involvement of ProLoco, take care of the menu by presenting traditional recipes and tasty variations, which cannot be found during the rest of the year, since this is the squid-fishing season.