The Po Delta has been home to eel-marinating factories for centuries.
The adult eels were caught in barriers called “lavorieri”, positioned near the outlets to the sea. They were transported to the factory in boats called “marotte”, which had special systems for changing the water to keep the eels alive.
At the factory the eels were selected, cut, threaded onto iron skewers and cooked over a wooden fire with a dozen fireplaces.
Given the very limited fishing period, it was traditional to marinate them in vinegar so that they could keep for longer.
The Emilia-Romagna Po Delta Park has renovated the old fire room in the Manifattura dei Marinati, the historically most important processing center in Comacchio.
Here, mature wild eels from the valley are processed following traditional techniques. The classic marinade is made from white wine vinegar, Cervia sea salt, water and bay leaves.
Comacchio Valleys, Po Delta Regional Park, Ferrara and Ravenna Provinces
Eels are caught from October to December and are marinated only in winter. Preserved eels kept throughout the year.