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BellaOnline's Italian Food Editor

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Discover Calabria, Italy

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

Calabria is a region filled with history, excellent food, and fun.

Regardless if you are looking for skiing, beaches, archaeological sites, or fantastic food the Italian region of Calabria has something for you. We first discovered Calabria when we were traveling home to Vicenza from a vacation in Sicily. Our overnight stay stretched into a multi-day stay as we explored the countryside in the morning and relaxed on the beaches in the afternoon. I remember the first communion celebration in the town's church. Afterwards we joined the owners of the hotel for lunch featuring capretto (young goat).

While we visited Calabria in late spring the region has something to offer year round. Camigliatto and Lorica feature ski resorts. One of the most fun is Gambare in Aspromonte's southern track which allows you to ski while looking out over the sea. If you don't ski you can hike through beautiful mountains. Calabria features many national parks

Historically Calabria was colinized by many different groups. It has belonged to the Greeks, the Romans, and the Byzantines. Others who lived in the area include the Armenians, Bulgarians, Catalans, Goths, Spaniards, Normans, and Bourbons. The regionís first name was Italia, perhaps from the Italic tribes that lived here. This means that the culture is unique in its blend of historical of traditions and foods, yet they are also deeply rooted in the geography of the region. Many Italian immigrants to the USA came from Calabria.

So, of course there are fantastic adventures into food and wine. These are filled with memorable scents, sights, and flavors. The food of Calabria is a feast for all the senses. There are Clementine oranges that remind me of the deep orange color of the setting sun. Many think that Clementines are small tangerines, but they're actually a different variety of orange.

Caciocavallo Silano is Calabria's star cheese. It is made with sheep or cow's milk and has a distinctive bag shape, covered with wax, and tied with a string at the top. The name means "Cheese on horseback." This cheese has been celebrated for almost 3000 years. It has been described as, "The king of cheeses of South Italy." It was referred to by Hippocrates (500 BC) when he wrote about craft and art used by the Greeks to prepare cacio.

The main meat eaten in Calabria is pork, and Calabrian salami is famous. Other meats include lamb and goat. The seas yield anchovies, cod, sardines, swordfish, and tuna. You are just as likely to eat pizza with tuna as salami picante (American peperoni).

Calabria is the most important hot pepper growing area of Italy. When Christopher Columbus returned from his initial voyage to the "new world" one of the food items he brought back was the hot pod now called peperoncino. Throughout Calabria there are festivals celebrating the hot pepper. You will find everything from a Calabrian peperoncino chocolate liquor named "Crema di cacao al peperoncino" to spicy ice cream.

By travelling to to toe of the Italian boot you will discover a land rich in beauty, history, and nature. It is distinctively Italian yet individual.

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Content copyright © 2014 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cinzia Aversa for details.

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