Calabrian Cuisine


The cuisine of Calabria is culture and also economy.

This region exports Bergamot, olive oil and wine (Cirò and Donnici the most regarded qualities), the latter since ancient times, when Calabria was referred to as Enotria (from Ancient Greek Οἰνωτρία, Oenotria, “land of wine”).

These authentic mediterranean foods, especially wine, are deeply embodied in the same names and traces of ancient Greek tradition; for example Οἴνωτρος (Oenotrus, literally “the man coming from the land of wine”), the youngest of the sons of Lycaon, was the eponym of Oenotria.

Nowadays, the same vineyards, which have origins dating back to the ancient Greek colonists, are the best known DOC wines, internationally recognized like  Cirò (Province of Crotone) and Donnici (Province of Cosenza). 3% of the total annual production qualifies as DOC. Other important grape varieties are the red Gaglioppo and white Greco.

This strong Calabrian tradition is linked to daily life, to actual gastronomy and to the exportation of Olive Oil and Bergamot. Many producers are resurrecting local, ancient grape varieties which have been around for as long as 3000 years. Often the same producers of wine, produce Bergamot and olive oil.

There is also a strong tie of such products with another authetic mediterranean food like sausages and dairy products of local cuisine, which are the main protagonists of a typical southern Italian Mediterranean cuisine with a balance between meat-based dishes (pork, lamb, goat), vegetables (especially eggplant), and fish.

Some local specialties include Caciocavallo Cheese, Cipolla rossa di Tropea (red onion), Frìttuli and Curcùci (fried pork), Liquorice (liquirizia), Lagane e Cicciari (a pasta dish with chickpeas), Pecorino Crotonese (Cheese of Sheep), and Pignolata.

We can not be silent about Pasta, which is also very important in Calabrian gastronomy. Typical Calabrian Pasta (so called “scilatelle”) also accompanies dishes of sausages and cold cuts (Sopressata, ‘Nduja, Capocollo), or plates of mediterranea fish – especially swordfish, sardines (sardelle rosamarina) and cod (Baccalà). In contrast to most other Italian regions, Calabrians have traditionally placed an emphasis on the preservation of pasta and sausages.

Finally, the cakes are a unique triumph of desserts, typically fried, honey-sweetened pastries, like Cudduraci, Nacatole, Scalille or scalidde or baked biscotti-type treats (such as ‘nzudda).



Bergamot Orange


The word bergamot is etymologically derived from the Italian word “bergamotto”.

Our country, Italy and, specifically,  Calabria, has the original cultivar. The name of the fruit is related to French bergamote, but, maybe, Turkish is the  origin: bey armudu or bey armut (“prince’s pear” or “prince of pears”).

Tha botanic classification is Citrus bergamia and you can admire Citrus bergamia as a small tree that blossoms during the winter, its juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit.

Now, Citrus bergamia is sometimes confused with (but is not the same as):
• Citrus medica – citron, the yellow fruit of which is also known as etrog; or
• Citrus limetta, the “sweet lemon” or “sweet lime”.

Its original cultivar production is completely limited to the Ionian Sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in Italy, most of the bergamot comes from a short stretch of land there, where the temperature is favourable.

About human uses, in Food and drink, the fruit of the bergamot orange is edible, you can obtain Bergamot marmalade and essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, as well as confectionery. In Sweden and Norway, bergamot is a very common flavourant in snus, a smokeless tobacco product.

OTOH, Bergamot essential oil and Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. For example, Bergamot is a major component of many original Eau de Cologne, while Bergamot essential oil is popular in aromatherapy.

Bergamot contains extremely large amounts of polyphenols, as compared to other citrus species. They are healty in many ways. Therefore its nature of healthy superfood is justly claimed.

Further, the juice of the fruit has been used in Calabrian indigenous medicine to treat malaria.