Error
  • JFTP::write: Bad response
  • JFTP::write: Bad response
  • JFTP::write: Bad response

ORIGINS

CHILLI PEPPER

In early 1800, chilli pepper, after becoming an integral part of the food of the lower classes, began to be widely used especially in the preservation of cold cut meats. The fear of hunger and famine, in fact, instinctively took to preserve the food to ensure survival. In the past, in Calabria, the daily sustenance, in fact, was not so obvious, because of the ruggedness of the soil, the lack of water and climate. Therefore, in order not to waste any food, the women of the people have developed a great ability to store foods for a long time. In this regard, it should be remembered a classic dish of the cuisine of Calabria that has centuries of history: the Sardella or Rosamarina, or so-called "caviar of the poor."

It's the dish that more than any other can sum up the meaning of the popular cuisine of Calabria and that introduces us to the most marked feature of this regional cuisine, which is the processing of foods aimed at their conservation. This dish, in fact, is prepared with the new born anchovies, mixed with the chilli. The pork also has been for centuries the protagonist of the nutrition of the people from Calabria, as it is underlined in the Statistics of Murat under "ordinary food of Hither Calabria " (roughly today's Province of Cosenza). As such, it has been, without exception, the official food of the rich and the poor from Calabria.

The people from Calabria have always been masters in the production of meats (sausages, brawns and capicolli), which are processed throughout the region in large quantities. But the prince of the spicy salami is definitely Nduja. This product has as the main ingredient the chilli and in fact the mixture for each kg of pork meat, requires at least 200 grams of chilli. Once the sausage was used to recycle the less noble parts of the pig: ligaments, skin, fat, to make a simple sauce very spicy, while now it has become one of the most famous and delicious regional products, popular also in the rest of Italy. The Nduja is eaten spread on toast, on the typical "pitta bread", with spaghetti, on pizza and even with fried eggs.

The production area of 'Nduja encompasses the territory of Spilinga, Zungri, S. Calogero, Caria, Brattirò, Zaccanopoli, Vena, Piscopio, Badia, Limbadi, all the agricultural centres of the Poro plateau in the district of Vibo Valentia. It has been regularly produced in the last few years also in the villages of Serre, of the valley of Mesina and of the Province of Catanzaro. Besides those already mentioned to emphasize mainly the feature of being the auxiliaries for the storage of food, Calabria produces some really special spicy dishes.

Morsello produced in Catanzaro, for example, is a sausage meat product prepared using veal offal excluding liver, while Mustica is a fish dish seasoned in a spicy way, typical of the Ionian coast; we are talking of the "new born sardine", that in this area is cooked salted, raw and with a large amount of hot peppers. Besides the traditional products nowadays the whole region is characterised by the production of many chilli based foods: pastas, grappa, jams and even ice cream, which are often offered by genius producers.

In Castrovillari, for example, a special pepper base grappa is prepared, while Campana is known for a delicious spicy cream with porcini mushrooms. Among the cheeses, very characteristic of the category is the sheep's ricotta seasoned with hot pepper: it is produced in Calabria from sheep's raw milk of the "Gentile" breed, with the addition of hot pepper that gives it that characteristic pink colour. It is then wrapped in broom leaves and placed hanging from the ceiling in the basement for thirty days to mature.

A bit like Pecorino which also has a spicy version, which is produced in the province of Crotone. The people from Crotone, in fact, are known particularly for the production of a special "canestrato" which is known as early as the sixteenth century, of which the golden age of production appears to have been the seventeenth. In this period a large number of landowners "practiced and produced for export". In addition to the ordinary use of the chilli pepper made in Calabria for the preservation and seasoning of dishes, chilli pepper like many other spices, is used in the awareness of its strong antibiotic action due to the high content of vitamin C. There are also many other properties not less important as its action to prevent sclera, anaesthetic, and so on.