Coniglio di fosso dell’isola d’Ischia

Ischia, Campania

Hole Rabbit from Ischia Island

Rabbit is a typical Sunday dish of Ischia tradition. A traditional dish since they started breeding rabbits, the so-called hole rabbits (coniglio di fosso). Documents and biographies that have been passed along since the XVIII century report that farmers would dig holes 2 meters deep and they would raise rabbits inside. The rabbits would also dig tunnels in the holes to find repair from wind, cold, warm and rain. The farmers would close these lateral tunnels with rudimental tools that would also help the capture of the rabbits at the right moment.

This kind of farming technique allowed the rabbits to grow partly wild, forming groups with a social structure dominated by a male. The rabbit would feed themselves with herbal essences, mostly spontaneous ones, with no need of feed and other food; all this to benefit the flavour of the meat, hard to tear off the bone and with an excellent taste.

This tradition risked disappearing but has been recovered in the last years. The races that could be found at one time where local ecotypes, leporine and mousy, that were already there at the time of Greek colonization, these races have been replaced today by the Belgian leper, used as male breeder and also Blue of Vienna and Fulva of Borgogna used as brood