Calabria; for your perfect Italian Adventure!
Calabrian cuisine is an essentially ancient cuisine and is still very traditional, rustic, hearty and healthy but is also characterized by strong flavours. It has soaked up Greek and Arabic influences over the past thousands of years.
Extra virgin olive oil is the main condiment used for all types of dishes. Being an area were agriculture, fishing, olive oil, wine, cheeses and salami production are the main activities products coming from the land, sea and animals are the main part of traditional dishes. In Calabrian cuisine, pork is the preferred meat. Calabrian cuisine includes plenty of fresh local seafood including tuna and swordfish.
Calabrian cooking strikes a beautiful balance between meat-based dishes, featuring pork, lamb and vegetables, especially eggplant, and fish, all flavoured with richly fragrant mountain herbs. Calabrians have traditionally placed a greater emphasis on preserving their foods, in part because the heat and dryness of the mountains inland make crop failure a distinct possibility.
Every part of Calabria has different traditional dishes that can vary from one area to another, however there is a common ingredient between all of them and this is Perperoncino, known as the ‘Calabrian chili’. Calabria is the only region in Italy the produces chili and they are well known for eating it raw or adding it into dishes.
Every town has its own version of baccalà, dried cod, usually stewed with tomatoes and peppers with potatoes – a must try dish. Anchovies and sardines also add flavor to many Calabrian recipes.
Calabrian pizza is absolutely delicious and any trip to the region should include an Italian pizzeria with a traditional pizza oven.
Following World War II, many of Calabria’s inhabitants emigrated to the United States and Argentina; those left behind were slow to develop their wine industry. Calabrian juice, often highly alcoholic, is sold to cooperatives that ship the finished wines to northern Italy for use in blending
Most local wine is red and comes from the central areas of the eastern and western coastlines. Cirò along the Ionian coast produces the best wine. Although you can find the occasional really nice local wine they lack the sophistication of the north.
Wine from the supermarket is very cheap and you can pick up a bottle of Prosecco for very little.
Restaurants frequently offer a locally produced after dinner drink. Some of these have incredible flavours a particularly memorable one was flavoured with locally grown mandarins but lemon is more usual. But beware they are usually very alcoholic.