Calabrian Cuisine

21.2.2018

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).

 

 

San Vito Di Luzzi, the wine prized by the ancient Romans

10.2.2018

Drinking a glass of San Vito di Luzzi Wine is your personal jump into an ancient tradition, that of a nectar prized by the ancient Romans, and in less remote times by the Cistercian Monks, who settled in the small village of San Vito di Luzzi, in the north of Cosenza, the famous Monastery of Sambucina.

The presence of the monastery gave a further boost to the production of wine at Luzzi, and now this authentic piece of Calabrian and Mediterranean gastronomy is important, in defining the identity of our cuisine, just like local bergamot, salami, dairy, honey, fruit and all other flavors of the territory.

 

LOCATION

Nowadays, San Vito di Luzzi is a sub-region of the protected area of Terre di Cosenza DOC. It was once a DOC in its own right, but was subsumed into the Terre di Cosenza in 2011, along with its neighbors Donnici, Pollino and Verbicaro.

In well-exposed vineyards, located in the village of San Vito in the municipality of Luzzi, in the province of Cosenza, the homonymous wine is produced in the following types: red, white and “rosato”.

Given that it is named after San Vito village (in the parish of Luzzi), located in the hills of Calabria’s northwestern coastline, this wine is mainly made in the village of Luzzi. This small town situated on the lower slopes of the Sila National Park is the only authorized, according to the Regulations, to make production of this wine, which must come from local vineyards.

However, for the production of the red, white and rosé wines, many non-native varieties are used; for example, some of them come from the Sangiovese vine.

The territory is that in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea and under the large Sila Plateau. These areas are vital factors in creating the viticulturally suited microclimate here. Precisely, the volume of waters surrounding the Calabrian peninsula are a vital component in the local terroir, helping to moderate the intense heat of south Italian summer.

The mountainous topography around Luzzi helps to channel air up and down the valleys, providing a more stable environment in which to grow healthy vines.

 

HISTORY

After an oblivion of 2000 years, this wine has now a well-deserved but discreet renown. The San Vito di Luzzi D.O.C. was established in 1994, combining the area’s ancient winemaking traditions with qualities that can be appreciated by the modern consumer.

Even if produced in the tiny municipality of Luzzi in the province of Cosenza, this remote area of Calabria has an ancient history. The ancient Romans prized the wine, while after some centuries the Cistercian Monks settled here and built the famous Monastery of Sambucina, which increased and improved the production of wine at Luzzi.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the remote winemaking is the magical combination of geological and climatic conditions, with the work of Monks.

This explains why you can find an unbelievable combination of fragrances and perfumes into the wine of such tiny territory, giving rise to a superior quality wine.

 

FEATURES

San Vito di Luzzi was introduced as a DOC title in October 1994, a year before Verbicaro just to the north. Both wines were granted the status almost 20 years after the other DOCs in northwestern Calabria, making them the relative newcomers to the Calabrian quality wine scene. However, they did not gain any traction as a distinctive wine appellation, and as a result, both were absorbed as sub-regions of the Terre di Cosenza DOC introduced in 2011.

The grapes used to make Terre di Cosenza San Vito di Luzzi wines are typically Calabrian vine varieties. The most commonly used of these is Gaglioppo, but Malvasia Nera, Greco Nero and Sangiovese are also used. The local white wines are based on Malvasia Bianca and Greco Bianco.

The San Vito di Luzzi Doc wine generally has a minimum alcohol content, ranging from 10.5 degrees to 11.5 degrees for either the white or the red.

The typical red has an intense dry flavor and velvety red color. The rosé is a mild aroma and flavor although dry, cool and elegant with a minimum alcohol content of 11 degrees. The white has a yellowish color with a more or less intense flavor and pleasant aroma.

Speaking more precisely of “San Vito di Luzzi Rosso” (red), it comes from Gaglioppo grapes (70% minimum), Malvasia grapes and any other red-berry vines, including Greco nero and Sangiovese; it has a more or less intense ruby ​​red color, is pleasant, delicate, has a characteristic smell, dry and velvety flavors. The minimum alcohol content is 11.5°, perfect for every meal.

With regard to “San Vito di Luzzi Bianco” (white), its grapes are white Malvasia and Greco, with the possible addition of other white grapes (maximum 40%). The wine, coming from such blend, has a more or less intense straw color, has pleasant smell, dry, harmonious and delicate flavors.
The minimum alcohol content is 10.5°; its typical use is as appetizer.

“San Vito di Luzzi Rosato” (rosè) is made with the same grapes of the red Gaglioppo (minimum 70%), of Malvasia and of any other red-berry vines, among which the Greco Nero and the Sangiovese. It has a more or less intense pink color sometimes with orange hues, is delicate, has characteristic smell and fresh, dry, harmonious, elegant flavors. The minimum alcohol content is 11°, perfect for every dinner.