In Morano Calabro: The most fresh and fragrant cheese


From the scents of the green pastures that surround the magnificent village of Morano Calabro a cheese from the ancient tradition is born, loved by nobles and peasants. It is the white and soft, and contains aromas and flavors of the ferns on which it is laid. Further, it is fat, fresh and characterized by an outer surface devoid of white porcelain crust, of the same shade as the pasta which is also soft, smooth and moist. The taste is delicate and pleasantly aromatic thanks to the hints given by fern leaves.

The cheese on ferns

This cheese is called “felciata” of Morano, is a cheese of mostly goat’s (and a little sheep’s) milk, made in the summer, and is, indeed, called “felciata”, because takes its name from the custom of laying it on ferns.

Precisely, after heating and coagulating of the milk, the cheese, so obtained, is traditionally set in a wooden bucket filled with ferns (in Italian the ferns are called “felci”, this explains the name of the cheese, “felciata”).

Morano, a beautiful village

Once produced, this wonderful cheese is best eaten fresh, while still warm.


Nowadays, the denomination “Felciata” is one of the Calabrian cheeses included in the list of Traditional Agri-food Products (TAP, but in Italian the acronym is “PAT”) of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.

Called also “a filicèta” in the dialect of Morano Calabro, the “felciata” takes its name, as said before, from the fern leaves in which it is wrapped, taking on the characteristic aromas that distinguish them.

La Felciata


That of the ferns of Morano Calabro is an ancient recipe closely linked to the Calabrian pastoral tradition, probably handed down from father to son.

Soft and creamy, it was particularly appreciated by the noble families who consumed it regularly and was used as a bargaining chip by local artisans, who offered the producers the mulberry buckets used for its production, in exchange for some of the delicious cheese.

Such were (and are) its whiteness, its delicacy and its freshness, that the felciata, as reported in an ancient Calabrian text, was often called “Pane degli Angeli”.

Sight of the Castle

Today, to safeguard and promote its production and avoid its disappearance, the Slow Food Foundation has chosen to protect the delicious Calabrian cheese by including it in its Arca del Gusto project.


The narrow streets of Morano and the houses that seem to cling to each other and, in turn, anchored to the soft sides of a hill surrounded by woods and mountains, make it one of the most picturesque villages in all of Calabria. It is no coincidence that the town has been included in the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

From the first glance, when approaching the historic center you can see the surprising vernacular architecture and its poor-style buildings that embrace, almost melting into each other, climbing up to the castle that dominates them from above.

At the end of the walking, from the castle, dominating the panorama, you can finally realize why this little stone jewel is considered so charming.


The felciata is generally produced in the late spring and summer season during the months between May and September. In this period, in fact, the lush mountain pastures of the Pollino massif give the milk the most pleasant and intense aromas, flavors and smells. Today it is not easy to find it in Calabrian dairies but it is worth looking for it to taste its delicacy. Who is in Morano Calbro can buy it at the local Caseficio, which produces only organic cheeses.


The traditional Recipe of Felciata in Morano Calabro requests goat’s milk, coming from animals that are rigorously grazed and added with a very small percentage of sheep’s milk. Then , the milk is filtered with ferns and then heated in the appropriate copper boilers at a temperature of about 34 ° C.

Then, it is added goat or lamb rennet produced on the farm. While waiting for complete coagulation, the best sprigs of ferns are arranged by choosing those of a certain consistency from the apical part of the plant. After 30-45 minutes, the curd is picked with the coachman (a typical maple wood tool) and transferred to mulberry-wood buckets, making sure to form homogeneous layers of curd and ferns. Now glass, ceramic or terracotta containers are also used.

Evening at the village


To appreciate every taste and olfactory note of this cheese it is advisable to eat the “felciata” on the same day it is produced, even when it is still hot. It can be consumed alone or flavored with acacia honey. It goes nicely with dried fruit, but it is also delicious when drizzled with just a little oil. It goes well with dry and light white wines.

Wild Fennel Of Calabria



The expression in Calabrian dialect to designate wild fennel, growing in the meadows and on the sweet hills of the region, is “Finocchiu i Timpa” (literally “Fennel of mountain peak”). The word “timpa” means, indeed, round mountain peak with cliff walls.
The Plant, originating from the Mediterranean regions with gravelly soils, is a perennial herb with a sweet and intense aroma!

Shoots and seeds

Since ancient times it has been used as a food and medicinal plant for its digestive, reconstituting and aromatic properties. The parts used are the new shoots and the seeds.
The new shoots are used for the preparation of soups; the raw seeds for flavoring sausages and vegetables in general and for preparing a stimulating and digestive liqueur.

High Concentration of Anethole

In the seeds, in fact, the highest concentration of anethole, aromatic compound, of which the whole plant is rich, is contained.


It seems that in ancient Rome the fennel was used to cover the bad smells and tastes of not very fresh foods and that from this cooking trick the term «infinocchiare» was born, that is to deceive, cheat.


Further, the plant was well known and appreciated by the Greeks and widespread also in the East. These ancient peoples considered it a very precious plant for its thousand uses.

Very used in herbal medicine


In Calabria properties of fennel have been known for millennia and it is still widely used both in the kitchen and in phytotherapy, the greatest use is in the kitchen for drinks, teas and the “rosolio” (a liqueur).
Various decoctions aromatize the cured meats the first courses and the meats in general.

A bunch of fennel

This demonstrates that this humble plant, to the reach of everybody, In short is one of the many gifts of this beautiful region, Calabria.