“Vivere per mangiare e non mangiare per vivere”
(Live to eat and not eat to live) –Italian proverb
Do you want to learn how to cook authentic Abruzzese cuisine?
Abruzzese food is the undiscovered treasure of Italian gastronomy. Few tourists have ever truly explored the flavors of the Abruzzo kitchen. Abruzzese cooks are masters at converting the simplest of ingredients (perhaps a handful of freshly plucked fava beans from the garden plot, gleaming red cherry tomatoes, golden egg noodles and sheep’s milk ricotta) into fascinating and magnificent dishes.
The Abruzzese people flavor their dishes with rich, local olive oil, local spices including hot chili pepper or aromatic saffron (from the valley town of Navelli). “Antipasti” (appetizer courses) are always advised, and depending whether you are eating by the sea or in the mountains with us, will consist of the finest ingredients the region has to offer.
Abruzzo is the queen of handmade pasta noodles. Pasta is the customary Abruzzese “primo piatto” (first course), and none is more original than “maccheroni alla chitarra” (guitar pasta): sheets of egg dough cut using a flat rolling pin on a wooden box with strings (hence the reference to “guitar”). In the winter, polenta is a traditional dish, which is usually served as a primo piatto and is topped with a spicy sausage ragù or hearty meat sauce.
In seaside cities, such as Vasto, you’ll savor dozens of types of fresh fish which are marinated in a spicy saucy soup (“brodetto di pesce”) and served at your table still boiling in a terra-cotta pot.
In the mountains, sheepherding remains a common way of life, and since much of Abruzzo is a national park, wild life is also abundant. Lamb, sheep, pork, beef, venison and even wild boar are mainstays of the “secondo piatto” (second course); wine, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary are favorite flavorings, especially with meat cooked “alla brace” (grilled over wooden embers). Many families still raise their own chickens, and free-roaming foul yield orange-yolk eggs and flavorful meat. You’ll have to try “agnellino allo scotto ditto” (lamb, burnt finger style – grilled over hot embers) which will be the best grilled lamb you’ve ever had.
Deserts vary from locale to locale (biscotti, fritters and sweet cakes) and are always delicious. You’ll sample the local “confetti,” sugar, praline or chocolate coated toasted almonds made world-famous by the Mario Pelino Company in Sulmona.
Come discover the joy of Authentic Abruzzese cooking!