Traditional Italian Food
Calitrian cuisine is renowned in the area for being very tasty and rather spicy. Typical hand-made pasta dishes include cingul', the local dish par excellence. This is short, twirly pasta boiled and then served with a thick, tasty tomato sauce; other varieties of pasta with the same sauce include lahan' and aurecchi' r' preut'- (priest’s ears in the local dialect); another must are cannazze', served with delicious hot tomato sauce and pecorino cheese; and sciliend' (a special vermicelli-like pasta) with a condiment of garlic-fried oil and hot chili pepper.
Meat-based delicacies include m'gliatiegghij' a local favourite made up of tasty roulades of kid or lamb casings garnished with cheese, offal, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and sliced sausage; sfritta, or chopped pork meat sautéed with hot peppers; also sammuchij', a local pudding made of pork blood seasoned with minced lard, little segments of orange peel, rice, raisins, cinnamon, pork casings, walnuts, salt and chili pepper powder.
A traditional fish-based delicacy is stockfish a la ualanegna, the favourite of plowmen in the past (ualan' means plowman), in which stockfish is boiled and flavoured with garlic, herbs and chili peppers.
Calitri and its food
It is ironical that in a town that was a considerable producer of durum wheat like Calitri, most of its people, because of their dire poverty, had to depend for their sustenance as a rule on maize and chick peas.
In the more distant past, only the fortunate few could afford wheat bread. The rest of the population, namely those who broke their backs with hard work and had callous hands, could afford this luxury only when they were with a foot in the grave (hence, even today in Calitri, the expression used to indicate that an individual is on death’s doorstep is “he/she is at the whole-wheat bread stage”.
Bread for the poor consisted of wheat flour mixed with ground chick peas and corn. Another basic food was corn pizza, cooked on heated stone slabs.
The most common food taken with bread was peppers, mostly of the hot variety. Condiments like fatback and lard were used very sparingly. Oil was used least of all because too expensive.
The artisan class had their main meal at noon, while the farmers had theirs in the evening.
Depending on the season, there could be a prevalence of small onions, then lettuce, chick peas, fresh peas, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, turnips, cabbage and Savoy cabbage.
In all seasons, the food prepared most regularly was a soup of greens (m’nestra) consisting for the most part of wild greens, varieties of chicory and borage, all plentiful and inexpensive.
Also widely used were dry legumes (mostly chick peas, lentils) and stockfish.
When a hog was slaughtered, for days in a row people ate offal and giblets, and—because it could not be preserved for long—fresh pork.
On holidays a few glasses of wine were customary, whereas meat, whether poultry or lamb, was a luxury, and its use was limited to major holidays, mainly Christmas and Easter.
As late as the 1930s, the consumption of freshly-butchered meat was so scant that local butchers preferred to take turns slaughtering a few lambs. Beef sold at the butcher shops was mostly low-grade, derived from animals slaughtered because of injuries.
Meat was grilled on a tripod (trebb't’) placed over the fire.
You may think that Italian meals are excessively large with infinite courses, but more than a means for sustenance they are viewed as a social event. The portions are much smaller than those served in northern European countries, and being generally based on vegetables and fruits and home-made pastas, they generally are healthier than their cross-culture substitutes. In addition, the secret when preparing an Italian meal is to select the freshest of local ingredients, so what you eat will change from month to month.
A few pearls of wisdom:
- Never drink coffee with a meal, only after it's finished.
- Never chops pasta with a knife. Pasta is a first course, as it rice, soup or even pizza.
- Don't put cheese on seafood pasta.
- Don't mix seafood and meat in the same meal. These are both second courses and substitute each other.
Italian food servings
1-Antipasti: Appetizer. 2-Primo: A starter, most likely being a soup (most likely pasta but can also be rice or soup) 3-Contorno: Small side servings, can be a salad or vegetables. 4-Secondo: Main dish. 5-Dolce: Dessert
Places we recommend to eat in the area
Still today, meals in Calitri are colourful, lengthy and entertaining social undertakings, continuing for hours on end as the wine the conversation and each course is savoured.
There are several restaurants we recommend in and around Calitri,
Locanda dell'Arco di Zampaglione Ristorante : typical Calitrian cuisine, very central, closed on Sundays.
Address: Via dell'arco di Zampaglione n.5, Calitri.
Tre Rose Ristorante: typical Calitrian cuisine, excellent cooks, very central, closed on Sundays.
Address: Via Sotto Macelli 9. Tel: 0827 34123
Address: località Gagliano Tel. 0827 30069
Manhattan Restaurant/Pizzeria: typical local cuisine, excellent food, very lively, very central.
Address: Via Pittoli. Tel: 333 429 4003
See a complete list of restaurants
Punto Pizzeria: pizza for all tastes, closed on Tuesdays.
Address: Corso Garibaldi 1. Tel: 0827 34574
Speedy Pizzeria: pizza for all tastes.
Address: Corso Matteotti. Tel: 0827 38024
Bar-Pasticceria Zabatta: amazing desserts and biscuits
Address: Via de Sanctis 7, Tel: 0827 30325
Bar-Gelateria Jolly good ice-cream
Address: Corso Garibaldi, Tel: 0827 30012
Grocers shops for those with self-catering accommodation
Alimentari Giovanni Cianci: Via Pittoli 66. Tel: 0827 34105
Alimentari e Frutta De Maio: Via de Sanctis 5. Tel 0827 30271
Alimentari Di Milia: Corso Garibaldi 138. Tel: 0827 34368
Alimentari Gervasi: Via Tedesco 127. Tel: 0827 30338
The areas surrounding Calitri also have a infinite variety of hand-made pasta of various shapes and sizes. The most common are orecchiette, fusilli, tagliatelle, cavatelli, and ravioli. There are also many delicious meats in the area and local dishes typically feature veal, chicken, lamb and rabbit grilled on embers and accompanied with a variety of sauces. Among the deserts the ricotta pie is a must, and those with a sweet tooth can also enjoy crespelle, struffoli, and calzoncelli, a chick-pea sweet typical of the nearby town of Sant'Andrea di Conza. Lacedonia's dessert specialties include chestnut and chocolate-paste filled raviolis and sfogliatelle stuffed with sweetened ricotta cheese or bitter cherry jam.
The meats are particularly tasty as there are many farms in the area, producing beef, poultry and milk, and others specializing in sheep and goats. Locally-produced cheeses include caciocavallo, scamorza, caciotta, pecorino and caprino, burrini and salt ricotta, and local chestnuts and hazelnuts have Italy-wide fame. Last but not least, truffle-lovers will enjoy the region as it boasts a generous supply of both the white and the black variety.
Popular local products include a variety of cheeses like caciocavallo, pecorino cheese, goat's cheese and butirr', a soft, buttery cheese enclosed and seasoned in its thick rind. We also recommend trying some of the local pork-based delicacies like Calitri's prosciutto, salami, and spicy sausages. Vegetarians have an infinite variety of fruit and vegetables to choose from, harvested and grown in the sunny and fertile lands around the village. Calitri's bread is also renowned for its texture and taste in the area.
Scarpegghij' is a customary Christmas season sweet that's a must for winter visitors. To make it, local bakers and women fry swirls and portions of leavened flour and drench them in honey or sprinkle them with sugar. Delicious. For months before and after the Easter festivities the locals enjoy P'cc'latiegghij', a local variety of doughnut with a hard boiled egg at the center covered with a dough cross, or Scallatiegghij':, a typical Easter sweet flavoured with salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. Very tasty.
WINES FROM THE REGION OF CAMPANIA
Famous wines in the region include Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Montesole Irpinia Bianco, Falanghina, Lacrymae Christi and others.
Visit the vineyard with briefing on various type of wines grapes, climates and soil. Back in the cellar to learn the history of the wine and how the wine was made including learning about the wine making process .
Wineries/Vineyards: The Alovini Winery use the aglianico grapes from some of the best-tended vineyards anywhere in Italy. The volcanic soils around the stunning but extinct volcano "Mount Vulture" also contribute to the unique wine. Cabanico Basilicata igt, Al Volo Aglianico del Vulture doc. Feudi di San Gregorio Estate - Vigne di Mezzo - which has a cluster of vineyards near the villages of Barile, Rionero in Vulture and Rampolla, all sharing a south-east exposure on the Mount Vulture in the region of Basilicata. The grapes are Aglianico del Vulture. Efesto Aglianico del Vulture doc.
Important Wine Places, region of Campania: Amalfi, Avellino, Aversa, Capri, Benevento, Ravello, Taurasi
Tuscany Cooking Class
Learn to cook Italian cuisines through Good Tastes of Tuscany cooking school in Florence, Italy and take home the recipes of Italian delights.