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Food and wine

Calabria, land of passionate tastes and explosive flavours

Not just chilli peppers, but a varied carousel of products to make your head spin.

3 minutes

Discover an ancient region, a synthesis of cultures that have inhabited it over the millennia, including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Angevins, Bourbons, Spanish, French, each with its own food traditions

If the gastronomic differences between the provinces jump out at you on your journey, common points do not go unnoticed, such as the use of spices and aromas (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, oregano, wild fennel), including chilli pepper, king of the tables, used both fresh and dried, and of homemade bread prepared according to tradition with a long natural leavening process: white art with dozens of varieties, of which the bread of Cerchiara di Calabria is the ambassador.

Among the region's community dishes, you will find pasta ca muddica (breadcrumbs) and anchovies, aubergine parmigiana, stockfish, with different interpretations in the various provinces, and swordfish.

Only here do the side dishes look like main dishes due to their consistency, such as 'mpacchiuse' potatoes with Tropea onions, 'pipi chini', spicy peppers stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese and vegetables, and 'vrasciuli', fried aubergine meatballs. 

Pork sausages play a central role, which with Nduja (salami that is not cut, but spread) have conquered the world market. Try soppressata, capocollo, pancetta and sausage from Calabria, for a sensory experience like few others.

The cheese scene is also strong, with Caciocavallo Silano, butirro, or burrino, a variant of caciocavallo with a small amount of butter inside, pecorino, and Felciata, a fresh cheese wrapped in fern leaves.

How about another cascade of flavours such as liquorice from Rossano, figs from Cosenza, nougat from Bagnara, truffles from Pizzo, mushrooms and potatoes from Sila, bergamot from Reggio Calabria, and other local citrus fruits, such as citrons from the Riviera of the same name? And then the olive trees, which produce excellent oils and olives.

You must try everything. Because you can only get to know Calabria in depth by tasting it in the company of a glass of Cirò, representing the region's prized grape varieties.

All the flavour of Calabria's Pollino Park

All the flavour of Calabria's Pollino Park

Reach Papasidero, a tiny village in the park, which offers, among other gastronomic delights, 'fusiddi' seasoned with goat meat sauce, and 'rascatiddi' (a kind of cavatelli) with smoked ricotta.

In Mormanno, about 20 kilometres away, you find yourself in the land of legumes, such as the 'fagiolo poverello bianco' (white poor bean), which tastes delicious especially when cooked on the fire in a clay pot, and the 'lentil', small in size, which you can enjoy in the form of soup with chilli pepper and in a creamy, sweeter version.

In Morano Calabro, continuing for another 21 kilometres, you are in the paradise of cheeses - such as Pecorino di Morano, Moretto del Pollino, caciocavallo (seasoned or smoked), Canestrato, Burrino, Felciata, ricotta and mozzarella - and of Cancareddri Cruschi, dried peppers, hung in the windows to dry. At Christmas time, try cannaritoli (or cannarituli), cannoli covered in honey. 

Reach Cerchiara, about 45 kilometres away, to get to know the area's famous bread, hump-shaped, reminiscent of the Sellaro Mountain that dominates the village. Enjoy it with a slice of prosciutto crudo from San Lorenzo Bellizzi, 12 kilometres from Cerchiara, with its delicate flavour but intense aroma.

Typical dishes

Typical dishes

Pasta china

'A pasta chjin (stuffed pasta) is a classic festive dish and is among the culinary highlights of Christmas, Easter and Ferragosto. A treasure trove of flavours prepared with rigatoni (or paccheri), tomato sauce, soppressata, boiled eggs, caciocavallo, pecorino, tropea onions, and meatballs. 

A tip for you who try your hand at making it: once cooked, the pasta china should rest for at least a couple of hours before enjoying it. 


Morzeddhu', which in Catanzaro dialect means cut into small pieces, is a meat dish prepared with tomato paste and spicy peppers, flavoured with bay leaves and oregano. It is traditionally served in a wagon wheel 'pitta' (a type of bread with a wide circumference).

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