Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Preview into the Food, Wine and Travel to Calabria

As we continue into February with our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) we remain in southern Italy today exploring the region of Calabria.

Calabria is situated at the front tip of the boot closely situated to Sicily right off the coast, connected via the Strait of Messina. Also, surrounded by the seas of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian it faced many invasions. Definitely not the top of the tourism list for many traveling to Italy, one of it's most attractive features is it coastline, beaches and seaside villages. Plus, with it's close proximity to Sicily it makes it an easy jaunt to experience the culture of another region. For the outdoorsy lover there are also national parks in its mountainous center for exploring.
Map of Calabria
Copyright of Federdoc
Food of Calabria
A lot of the food of southern Italy is known as peasant food, cucina povera. It's considered simple food produced with plenty of flavor. As you can imagine being surrounded by water there is never a shortage of fresh seafood, especially sardines being a highlight. Frseh fruit and vegetables are in abundance with eggplant, bergamot organes, licorice and the red onions of Tropea being some of the highlights. As with many regions within Italy they have their own particular cheeses favorited that include caciocavallo, sciungata and butirro. When we all think of olive oil as well we probably think of Tuscany, but Calabria is a very popular region for olive oil with production at least half of the overall production within Italy. There is a also a focus on spice within the cusine so you'll find it as well in many of the dishes.

Wines of Calabria
Greeks, like most of southern Italy, were the first to grow vines in Calabria. Devastated like the rest of Europe by the phylloxera disease in the late 19th century Calabria has struggled to rebuild itself as a wine growing region in comparison to others. Another region with no DOCG classifications it does produce one of the oldest wines in the world and most known from this region. Those wines are Ciro, mostly made from the gaglioppo grapes. Gaglioppo is one of the primary red grapes along with some greco nero and whites including trebbiano and greco bianco.

Join us!
Our ItalianFWT group will feature a variety of articles sharing with you some of our experiences with the region of Calabria. Here is a preview of more to come:

Vino Travels - Reinvigorating the Almost Extinct, Native Grapes of Calabria
Culinary Adventure with Camilla – Ciambotta, A Delicious Calabrese Mess
Rockin Red Blog – Calabria: A Rustic Food and Wine Pairing
Cooking Chat - Italian Wine for an Easy Indian Feast
Confessions of a Culinary Diva - Exploring Gaglioppo & Aglianico
Enofylz Wine Blog - Calabrian Gaglioppo Paired with Lamb Chops Calabria Style
Food Wine Click - Swordfish and Ciro from the Land of Scylla and Charybdis
The Wining Hour - Calabria: Sun, Sea and Ciro Bianco

Join our online live chat on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT.  We can't wait to hear from you all!