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Food and wine

Campania

Pizza, gnocchi, walnuts and lemons: flavours along the Sorrento Peninsula

05 July 2022

Index

On the Sorrento Coast you’ll find agri-food produce of the highest quality, with a definitive style of cuisine that the locals are very proud of. Honour them by tasting a pizza alla sorrentina, which is different to a Neopolitan pizza, or some famous gnocchi alla Sorrentina, Sorrento IGP lemons, or any Sorrento walnut based treat. These are recognised by the Slow Food Presidia. 

1. Sorrentine pizza, not Neapolitan!

Never mix up someone from Naples with someone from Sorrento, and vice versa! When it comes to prepping for the dinner table, each have their own special recipes, it's a matter of identity.

In Sorrento and its peninsula, the pizza is different from the classic Neapolitan one. It doesn’t have raised edges, it has flat edges, and the dough is more crisp as it is made with pure water from the Lattari mountains. It is made with fiordilatte cheese rather than mozzarella, and the tomatoes are strictly from the Sorrento plains.

In short, it’s totally different to a Neapolitan pizza, so naturally it must be the first thing you try while visiting the Sorrentine Peninsula.

Another delicious local speciality not to miss is gnocchi alla Sorrentina. A very simple dish prepared with potato gnocchi dressed with tomato and basil sauce, diced fiordilatte and Parmesan cheese, then baked in the oven.

It is one of the most famous Italian dishes on menus worldwide, and for this reason it should be eaten here, in the place of its origin.

A similar sauce is used on the scialatielli - a thicker spaghetti-like pasta - although this is not baked in the oven.

Sorrentine walnuts are considered a prestigious variety. They are appreciated by cooks and pastry chefs for their flavour, and because their kernel is easy to take out intact. Among the many specialities to try, made with these walnuts, would be spaghetti alle noci. Prepared with garlic, parsley, anchovies and walnuts, another simple dish yet so rich in flavour.

Next up, fresh fish - essential to try and cooked everywhere along the Amalfi Coast. In any number of excellent restaurants the meal ends with Delizie al limone; sponge cake domes drowned in limoncello, filled with cream and covered in a lemon glaze. Naturally, best enjoyed with a glass of limoncello, liqueur made by letting lemon peels macerate in pure alcohol with water and sugar then added.

Within the selection of excellent local produce are sorrento lemons. Recognised by the European Union with the IGP mark, meaning protected indication of origin. They are grown under pergolas, with chestnut pole scaffolding covered in reeds, to delay ripening, and as protection from bad weather. Their peel is particularly rich in essential oils, and they are super juicy, this is why limoncello made from Sorrento lemons is so special.

Holidays along the coast of Sorrento will give you an all round sense of well being, especially if you are a self confessed foodie, the cuisine will have you delighted.