“Stocco di Mammola”, the Calabrian taste of Flanders stockfish


Mammola is a beautiful town near Reggio Calabria, famous as the land which, thanks to its nature between the mountains and the seas, is able to offer a vast gastronomic panorama to those who live and visit it.

The five Calabrian provinces (Cosenza, Crotone, Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia and Catanzaro) are linked to each other by a culinary tradition that has humble and ancient origins.

A sight of Mammola (Church of Madonna del Carmine)

The dishes, which connect all five Calabrian provinces, are few and differ, above all, in their preparation. Among the most common dishes, there is stockfish, especially the local recipe of “Stocco di Mammola” (literally the “stockfish of Mammola”), which is a little bit modified in every province.


Stockfish has a very ancient history. In 1431 the noble Venetian merchant Pietro Querino and his crew, from the return of Flanders, were caught by surprise by a storm. After days at sea, the ship ran aground in an archipelago of the Arctic Circle: the Lofoten Islands.

Lofoten Islands

Suffering the cold and after finishing the food, they decided to go in search of food. They found a huge fish stranded on the rocks and decided to cook it on the beach. The smoke caused by the cooking of the fish, intrigued the inhabitants of the island in front that they ran to see who was on that abandoned island. Found the castaways, they took them to their lodgings offering hospitality.

The crew and the Venetian nobleman remained with the population until the arrival of spring: they arranged the boat and returned to Venice with a great and exquisite novelty: the stockfish.

Five hundred years later, in 1932, a monument was held in the Lofoten Islands in memory of the cultural, gastronomic and ethnic link between Italy and those distant islands.

Today the Norwegian archipelago is the most important producer of stockfish in the world and Italy is the largest importer, through the ports of: Naples, Ancona, Vicenza and Liguria.

Norway, a link with Calabria


Stocco di Mammola is a dish of Calabrese origin. Of humble origins, it was consumed above all by the poor. In particular, the peasants consumed it and offered it to the laborers during the most strenuous jobs that were carried out in the countryside.

Traditionally, the stockfish is consumed during Christmas and is also given for personal use and consumption. This is a legacy deriving from the custom that many migrants had, at their return they brought to relatives the stockfish as a gift.

To date, the Stocco di Mammola is a true symbol of pride in the village of Mammola (on the Aspromonte mountains), in the province of Reggio Calabria. For this reason the municipal administration of Mammola has recognized the product as “De.Co.“, Denominazione Comunale di Origine (Municipal Protected Origin). Furthermore, the Ministry for Agricultural Policies has included it among the Agro-Food Traditional products.

Since 1500, stockfish is imported from Norway in Calabria and from Flanders and is processed by the various companies present in the Calabria area. The processing takes days, is divided into phases and requires a high level of craftsmanship.

Flanders, a link with Mammola

The town of Mammola celebrates its product with the traditional “stockfish festival“, which takes place every year in August in the ancient village of Mammola. This festival attracts hundreds of tourists and curious people who are ready to buy the product or savor it respecting tradition, in the various local restaurants.



  • 1 kg of “Stocco di Mammola” sponged in pieces
  • 1 kg of potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 dried peppers
  • 1 kg of peeled tomatoes
  • EVO oil
  • Olives in brine


In a terracotta pot, sauté the sliced onion in the oil. Then put the peeled tomatoes and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Stocco di Mammola

Add salt and the potato wedges and after a few minutes the stockfish with the olives and peppers. Cook over low heat without stirring but shaking the whole pan for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and after serving, let rest the stockfish for a few minutes serve.

Undiscovered Fruits of Calabria: Mulberry Blackberry


In Calabria summer is the season of blackberries (in dialect “a mura”) of mulberry, white or black, which ripen copiously on the beautiful trees of Morus Nigra and Morus Alba trees, scattered in the countryside of Calabria, this Mediterranean region full of colors and perfumes.

Morus Nigra

In Calabria ‘a mura, from the Latin morus, is the fruit of a high tree, they are the blackberries par excellence, and shall not to be confused with ‘a mura ‘i ruvetta (blackberry of bramble). The first type is almost a rarity but with a little effort it can be found in local markets or in private homes to enjoy something truly ancient and precious for the health of adults and children.

Rich in calcium, iron, zinc, vitamins B2, C and K for a triple antioxidant action, mulberry blackberries in ancient times were considered true medicine for their diuretic, laxative, healing properties for the respiratory diseases and as an antianemic and hypoglycemic agent.


The mulberry tree was already known by the Greeks, for whom it was a plant consecrated to the god Pan and symbolized intelligence and passion.

…see the hat of Pan, full of blackberry

According to the legend told by Ovid in Metamorphoses, the love drama of Tisbe and Piramo was consumed at the foot of a mulberry tree. Counteracted by their relatives, the young men met secretly but Tisbe one day was believed dead by Piramo, who killed himself on the news and Tisbe in turn died of grief (certainly Shakespeare was inspired by this tale for his tragedy, Romeo and Juliet!!). From that day, the fruits of the mulberry were colored red at the behest of the Gods, as a sign of mercy and compassion toward the unfortunate lovers.

Ovid, Metam., Pyramus and Thisbe, “Love, Myths and Other Stories” – XXXI

Also the Romans loved mulberries, to be consumed fresh or in the form of a drink, the vinum moratum. Pliny the Elder called mulberry the sapientissima arborum, the wisest of the trees, because it is the last one who patiently awaits that the winter is really over to make grow the foliage.

The history of silk is also linked to the mulberry tree, which the Romans bought in China and loved very much, but of which they did not know the secrets of the production, namely that the precious yarn was produced by the silkworms that fed on mulberry leaves.

The beauty of Silk

It was not until 551 AD that the great secret is revealed to the emperor Justinian by two monks of San Basilio, missionaries in India who, coming as far as China, told how the silk was produced, also bringing with them, it seems, secretly the first breeding caterpillars and the white mulberry seeds.

White Mulberry – Morus Alba

From Constantinople to Italy the step was short and from then on also the morus alba, sustenance of silkworms, became widespread, and its production in the centuries until the nineteenth century had a great role in the economy of Calabria, especially in the area of San Floro and Settingiano (both near Catanzaro).

The picturesque village of S. Floro

Then, on the trail of the splendid past of the sapientissima arborum, let’s get the precious and sweet fruits to consume them fresh or, to enjoy them longer, we prepare a delicious and beneficial blackberry syrup, according to an ancient Calabrian recipe.



-2 kg of large and juicy mulberry blackberries

– Sugar (equal to the weight of the juice)

– Lemon peel

Ingredients for Blackberry Syrup or Jam


– Wash the blackberries under running water, dab them with a cloth and let them dry in the air for a few hours.

– Put them in a bowl, mash them first with a fork and then blend them with the mixer, an action that was once done by passing the blackberries with “u crivu“, that is, through a sieve.

– Filter the blackberries now by helping yourself with a very narrow mesh strainer, crushing the mixture and leaving it for a long time to extract as much juice as possible.

The Juice

– Now weigh the liquid, put it in a saucepan with the sugar of the same weight as the mulberry juice and a nice strip of lemon peel.

– Bring to a boil and cook over low heat, stirring for 15 minutes.

– Let cool, remove the rind and pour into previously sterilized airtight bottles or jars that you can keep in a fridge or, for a longer shelf life, boil tightly for another half hour.

Mode of use

You can use the mulberry syrup to garnish cakes, fruit salads and ice creams, to prepare an excellent summer drink by extending two fingers per glass with water and finally, put the same drink in the freezer to freeze it.

In the latter case, gently rubbing the freezed juice it, repeating the operation several times, you will get a delicious Calabrian mulberry blackberry granita.

Blackberry Granita