A Few Things to Love About Southern Italy

Last week my friend and expat-in-southern-Italy counterpart, Tina of Tina Tangos wrote about three things to love about living in Italy.

And yes, it is all about the food.

The thing is, Tina and I are both lucky not only to live in Italy, but to live in southern Italy, where the food is apparently that much better. So in addition to Tina’s three things to love, I’d like to add a few of my own.

1. Say Cheese

My husband got quite offended earlier this week when I was near tears at the local Lidl’s British Week when I discovered there was no more Cheddar Cheese.

“You are in Calabria, Cherrye,” he told me. “We have the best cheese in the world.”

Well, since I am yet to sample all of the world’s cheeses and have a few French friends who’d defriend me if I agreed, I’ll just say that yes, Calabria has great cheese.

In fact, Calabrian cheese, especially Provola di Sila and Pecorino Calabrese are some of my favorite things about Calabria, so if you see them when you are out and about, be sure to give them a try.

2. Peperoncino, Per Favore

Oh, I’ve written of my passion for the peperoncino many times over the years, still it is one of my favorite things about southern Italy and thus, merits another mention.

I love how Calabrians use the ever-popular pepper in most of their plates, then offer it freely for those (of us) who’d like to add a little more power to our pranzo. I love how they don’t look at you strangely if you add it to your pasta and how oftentimes you get your choice-fresh, dried or oil-for your pizza.

3. Melanzane Mania

Even in Texas I loved to top my dishes with a pretty pepper or a chunk of cheese, but it is the mighty melanzane-or eggplant, if you please, that has taken me by surprise. This pretty purple produce is great sliced and grilled, fried, rolled into a ball or baked. Unfortunately, perfection has alluded me and most of the time my melanzane ends up either old-soaked or dry. However, my father-in-law is the melanzane master, so luckily for me, I can still get my fill on this Calabrian specialty.

Ok, if you had to choose-what ONE food-related item do you love most about southern Italy?

Traveling south? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip to Calabria or southern Italy.

Photos: Academia Barilla, Gusti di Calabria, Netturbe, Dolci e Non Solo (also a great source of Italian-language recipes).

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Comments

  1. I’ve lived in Sicilia for almost four years and will be moving stateside in a few months. Right now one of the things I’ll miss most is Granite di Gelsi. I’m not sure if its a Southern Italian thing or just a Sicilian thing but it is fantastic! πŸ™‚

    They sell granite here, but they call it Granita di Sicilia … ;-0 I love strawberry-just had some last week!

  2. Oh my god, I’m so hungry now for cheese haha! Actually eggplant is one of my favorite foods too. Yum!!!

    Ha! See what I mean? Once you start thinking about it … . πŸ™‚

  3. I have never been to Calabria so don’t know the foods. But I am sure they have much better cheeses than Cheddar cheese… But I know for a fact that if I ever lived there with my husband, that is one thing he would miss for sure.

    I know, I know, but still, once it was in my head I couldn’t get it out. I just got back from London, though, and brought back two blocks! πŸ™‚

  4. There is no pizza on your list? πŸ™‚ I think that would be my number one thing to love about living in Italy! Or to hate if none of my pants fit anymore πŸ™‚ Not sure!

    Oh, I *do* like the pizza. Everyone is right … you can’t choose just three things!

  5. Fioroni? Taralli? Scopatizzi? Orecchiette con le rape? Frutti di mare? Do I have to choose just one??? πŸ˜‰

    Well, technically you can choose three – I did! πŸ™‚

  6. All those things are great, but the best seafood I’ve ever eaten was in Southern Italy – Naples, Sorrento, and Sicily.

    Ooooh, that, too. Yep-can’t beat the seafood in the south!

  7. The farthest south I’ve ever been was Capaccio (to see the fabulous Greek/Roman ruins at Paestum) but what I can’t find enough of here in Texas is the fabulous fresh artichoke. Many varieties, many recipes and ways of consuming them… the best (possibly)was a fresh focaccia with artichoke, which we had in Firenze. Wow.

    Yea that is something else I never liked in Texas but like here. Who knew??

  8. You left out the greatest food item on the planet…. Vino!

    I know, right? That was on Tina’s list, though and I was only “adding” to hers. Otherwise, it would have been at the top!

  9. It all sounds yummy. I love cheese – one of my favorites. I make pretty good eggplant, maybe one day I’ll be able to come for a visit and cook some for you.

    Please do, Nadine!

  10. Oh, I’m hungry now! My favorite is cavatelli topped with peperoni cruschi…okay, actually that makes it two faves in one dish πŸ˜‰

    Cheater! πŸ™‚

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