Must syrup is produced in all of Abruzzo’s regional territories. This typically dark purple and very sweet liquid is very viscous and actually flows smoothly like oil.
The must is traditionally obtained from Montepulciano grapes or sometimes from another local cultivar: Cococciola. The grapes are harvested when they are very ripe, slightly later than the optimal ripeness for vinification (23-25% sugar). The grapes must be perfect and there are several stages of production: first, pressing with a normal winepress or, for small amounts, by hand. Then the must flowers obtained are filtered to remove skins, seeds and other pressing impurities, until the right clarity is achieved and the liquid is then cooked. In the past the must was simmered in copper cauldrons with a fragment of a terracotta plate heated on the hearth and placed on the bottom. After reaching boiling point, the must is left to thicken on a low heat for about three hours, until it reduces to a quarter of its original quantity. The resulting syrup is allowed to cool then it is bottled and its high sugar content allows it to be stored for two or three years.
The preparation of must syrup is part of Abruzzo’s age-old peasant traditions, passed down from generation to generation, and its history is proved by its inclusion as a classic ingredient in the preparation of typical pastries, especially for “neole” and in the filling of Christmas “calcionetti”.