Pearly, small and with a very thin skin, the Sorana bean is grown in small patches of land along the Pescia stream: a few hectares of “new lands” reclaimed by the Medici between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Greta del torrente rendered fertile on which the inhabitants of the area cultivated vegetables and legumes destined to small businesses, useful to integrate the thin incomes of the mountain families of Pistoia. The areas of the fiumara recovered for agricultural crops were divided between those who had contributed with their work to the reclamation: for this reason, even today, the owners of the land are many. The cultivated area extends over about four kilometers of torrent, especially on the left bank, between the Castelvecchio Bridge and the Sorana Bridge, in the municipality of Pescia. In ancient times this area was called Valleriana, that is “area rich in streams”, because of the great quantity of water that flows into streams and ditches towards Pescia. The peasants of the area have handed down the seeds for centuries. They say that the same small beans, called flat-noodles for the flat, squashed, slightly curved shape, grown on other soils are not so good: in the plains are any cannellini. The collection, manual, takes place in September. The beans are then exposed to the sun for 3-4 days to complete drying. During winter they are stored in special containers with the addition of peppercorns, valerian roots or bay leaves.
Sapid and very digestible, it is the protagonist of several recipes but the best way to enjoy it is cooked “in the fiasco”, or in glass containers with a wide mouth that in Pescia call gozzi. At the time of cooking, spring water is added to the beans, which should never be too calcareous or worse chlorinated, a clove of garlic and sage. They are then cooked on a low flame. At the end of cooking they are seasoned with a drizzle of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground white pepper.