The first thing that comes into your mind while travelling to Italy is undoubtedly its food and Abruzzo is one of the greatest examples.
The cuisine here is deeply influenced by the region’s location and multifaceted soul, that stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea and embraces an amazing coastline, beautiful lakes, breathtaking mountains, and three national parks. The food perfectly mirrors this variety of landscapes and it’s heterogeneous in nature: mainly made of simple ingredients turned into glorious feasts, it draws on traditions from pastoral and rocky inland areas as well as from coastal areas. As a general rule, you should always go with something local and traditional.
Probably one of the most widely known products of the area, “celebrated” in many local food festivals, and often rewarded as the best Italian salami, it is a cured sausage of leg, loin and shoulder pork mixed with sweet and piquant red pepper, fennel seeds, black pepper and salt. Deep red in colour, it will surprise you with a delightful chilli kick.
Crunchy crushed focaccia is how some people describe Abruzzo’s pizza scima, (silly pizza), as they use its golden crust to dunk into some sausage. Scima (silly) is a dialectal expression that comes from “ascime” and stands for “azzimo”, that means unleavened. It’s simply made of flour, water, salt, extra-virgin olive oil and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo white wine
Pecorino di Farindola
It’s a sheep cheese made in a small mountainous area, located in the heart of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. The “secret” ingredient, that makes it different from any other pecorino and gives it a sweet note, is the pig rennet. Its recipe is kept as a strong tradition of the area and passed down through generations.
May 1st sees the Teramo region of Abruzzo celebrating with Le Virtù, a big, strong & incredible soup the aim of which is to allow you to taste 28 ingredients individually, and for which the 48-hour cooking & preparation time is a true labour of love for any family to dine upon on May Day. It includes dried pulses & legumes, fresh vegetables, herbs & spices, meat and pasta.
Timballo Alla Teramana
More than just a scrumptious Abruzzo ‘pie’, it is a cook’s panoramic photograph of the fertile Teramo landscape. Its layers of crepe mirror the strata of limestone and dolomite that uniquely form and fuse to create the Gran Sasso d’Italia, the province’s largest mountain range. Walking here, in-between or on top of those layers sit plump, undulating pastures, streams, rivers & crevices and fallen rock all combine to give the impression of the tiny meatballs, polpettine – a rich ragù sauce, spinach or artichokes and scamorza that are richly layered in this dish.
Ravioli dolci is a dish whose delicate ricotta stuffing is flavoured with cinnamon, lemon zest and marjoram, eaten either with a light sugo or a pork-based ragu to complement the cinnamon, or sprinkled with more sugar & cinnamon and eaten as a desert.
It is considered to be one of the 14 experiences you should make when travelling in Abruzzo. They are cubes of sheep impaled on wooden skewers and cooked on fornacellas, a special narrow grill that people use in Abruzzo. Don’t be afraid to put the knife and fork to one side, as these authentic treats are traditionally eaten by hand with fresh bread, or ‘pane bruschettato’ and olive oil.
Brodetto alla Vastese
Among the most famous Italian fish soups is Brodetto made in Vasto, which was mentioned in the “1,000 foods to eat before you die” book written by the American chef – Mimi Sheraton. Made and served in a wide dish called tijella, it’s strongly connected to the territory and in particular to the Trabocchi coast. In 2015, featured by BBC One’s program Escape to the Continent, displayed how these incredible wooden platforms work and the way Brodetto is made.
Another great experience to make in Abruzzo is around its famous Porchetta, the roast pork dish that dates far back to the 15th century. The town of Campli celebrates its goodness with a festival called Sagra della Porchetta Italica.
Dolci / Desserts
Ferratelle (also called Pizzelle) look like waffles but they are actually aniseed wafers cooked in a red-hot plier with large stepped teeth; Tarallucci olio e vino, also called “celli ripieni”, are small flaky pastry shells, made with flour, EVO oil, and white wine, baked or sometimes fried, stuffed with almonds and grape jam; Bocconotti's are rustic pastries with stuffing typically made of almonds and chocolate; Mostaccioli, hearty cookies sweetened with cooked grape must.
Cicerchiata is a typical dessert of the Carnival made of small balls of fried pastry, blended with honey, and forming a ring-shaped cake.
At Easter time, you can’t leave the table without having Fiadone, the Abruzzese version of the cheesecake, a sweet cheese-based dessert that can be sweet or salty, and La pupa e il cavallo, two big-sized decorated cookies.
When the Christmas season kicks off, you will see Parrozzo, a dome-shaped almond cake flavoured with citrus zest and topped with a rich chocolate glaze; Caggionetti, paper-thin white wine fried ravioli typically filled with chickpeas, must, and honey; Scrippelle, that can make you think about crêpes or churros, but are unique both in their preparation and taste.
You can plan a full-blown culinary trip to this Italian region – Abruzzo.
Source(s): lifeinabruzzo, italiasweetitalia