EASYJET HAS NEVER EATEN IN CALABRIA: 5 TYPICAL DISHES NOT TO BE MISSED
The easyJet airline has advertised Calabria negatively by defining the Italian region as an untempting place for tourists due to the mafia and earthquakes. Yet, in Calabria, there are many inviting traditional dishes to try.
EasyJet made a big blunder, calling Calabria a region that suffers “an evident absence of tourists due to its history of mafia activity and earthquakes.”
We didn’t know that Calabria was like Japan or California concerning earthquakes. The ‘ndrangheta was a problem, yes, but it is for the whole Italy and not only for Calabria as the unfortunate easyJet copywriter would like to mean, the same one who defines the territory of Lamezia Terme as “alpine” (!).
Anyway, we talk about food, so here are five tasty reasons to spend your holiday in Calabria. We will not talk about the most famous, the ‘nduja since we have already done it on another occasion. Nor will we talk about the equally renowned hot pepper.
On the other hand, the material and culinary traditions are not lacking in Calabria as in every part of the Bel Paese.
Calabrian black pig salami
The Calabrian black pork salami is a delicacy that derives from the high quality of the meat of this local animal. Semi-wild breeding while the processing is always artisanal; thus was born a cold cut with an extremely intense flavor and aroma. Endangered until recently, today, the Calabrian black pork (so-called for the color of the coat with abundant bristles) has been rediscovered by some brave pioneers who allow us to taste this specialty good.
A typical dish of Crotone and its province, today, the Sardella is prepared with ice fish while once they used the bianchetti (whitebait of the bluefish), newborn specimens of sardines.
Today the whitebait can no longer be fished, so the ice fish is used, which is small but already adult.
Calabrian Sardella is a fish preserve, also called rosamarina or caviar of the poor, and can be eaten on pitta crouton, another typical bread. Spreadable, it is prepared with chili pepper and wild fennel. To taste the sardine, just add the extra virgin olive oil. Watch out for clothes, though, because they can leave a stain.
Caciocavallo podolico is prepared with Podolica cow’s milk only in certain areas of Italy and during specific times of the year. In addition to Calabria, the podolica cows are bred in the Apulia, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania and Basilicata regions.
Aged for a long time, up to 5 years (the longer the aging and the more the cheese will be tasty), caciocavallo is a semi-hard dairy product with stretched curd.
Strangely, the Podolica breed has Ukrainian origins and seems to have come to Italy following barbaric populations. What is sure is that it is an extremely rustic and resistant breed, capable of surviving in relatively unwelcoming areas.
The name is reminiscent of the village of the Italian movie “Non ci resta che piangere”, Frittole, but also fried food or frittelle.
The frittola, however, has nothing to do with fried dough. Typical of Reggio Calabria (and not only), the frittola is the demonstration that we can eat every part of the pork. In a cauldron, let dissolve the animal’s fat, and then water and waste are added (muzzle, cheek, rind, tongue, ears, kidney). After a prolonged boiling of about six hours, pepper is added and served with bread.
That’s all. It is a century-old tradition in Reggio, and the frittola was eaten between Christmas and Carnival, that is, during the period of slaughtering the pig. It was immediately prepared inside cauldrons placed outside the houses, and then shared with neighbors and passersby.
Swordfish “alla ghiotta”
Calabria has as many seafood dishes as it has meat. Let’s close this brief excursus by talking about the swordfish “alla ghiotta”, certified as a traditional agri-food product by Mipaaft.
It is a simple dish that belongs to the Messina culture (it belongs actually to the area of the strait between Messina and Reggio Calabria). With a stew made of tomato, capers, and olives, the swordfish “alla ghiotta” is an easy-to-prepare and, at the same time, delicious dish.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)