THE NORTHERN MAREMMA
The cieche, in dialect called "cee" are the young of the eel which from the sea attempt to swim upstream of the rivers. They are fished from the mouth of the rivers, at night, during the winter months (mostly from December to February) with a net called "ripaiola" or "cerchiaia". From 1984 fishing for cieche was outlawed in Tuscany and in all of Italy from 1987. That which is found today in the markets should be from breeding, coming from France and Spain. But the gourmet affirms that those local cieche are much better: which makes us suspect that the poaching of the cieche is still practiced. Because the eel lives in sweet water but gives birth and dies at sea, and so dies after depositing its eggs, it seems that the cieche go from the sea to swim upstream of the rivers from which came the mother eel. In cooking (it should be remembered that horrifyingly, they must be alive when cooked) offers a highly esteemed dish, coming from a very simple preparation but very tasty and much asked for.