Abruzzo boasts some of the best Italian cuisine, well known for its variety and richness owing to both the agricultural and coastal aspects of this great region of Italy.
Best-known is the extra-virgin olive oil produced in Colline Teramane (Teramo hills), marked by the quality level DOP and considered one of the best in the country.
Renowned wines like Montepulicano d’Abruzzo DOCG and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC are considered amongst the world’s finest wines.
In some ways, Abruzzo cuisine is the undiscovered treasure of Italian gastronomy.
Cooking in Italy
Abruzzese cooks are masters at turning simple ingredients (perhaps a handful of freshly plucked beans from the garden plot, basil, tomatoes, mushrooms, gleaming black mussels, golden noodles) into glorious feasts.
They flavour their dishes with hot chili pepper, aromatic saffron, fruity olive oil and are famous for their artichokes, legumes and potatoes. The local vegetables are often enjoyed in soups. Pasta is the preferred as a first course, and none is as typical as maccheroni alla chitarra (“guitar pasta”) which are sheets of egg dough, cut using a flat rolling pin on a wooden box with strings (hence the name “guitar”).
In the mountains, sheepherding remains a common way to make a living, so lamb, kid, sheep, and mountain goat are mainstays of the diet; wine, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary are favourite flavourings, especially when the source of heat is a lively wood fire.
Native favourites of Italian Cuisine in Abruzzo are the simply prepared and succulent arrosticini, which are chunks of meat (usually lamb) skewered like shish kebab and seared quickly over hot charcoals. Abruzzese lamb in general is considered superiour in flavour to other meats and lamb found elsewhere, because of the animals’ mountain-grased diets, rich in herbs. Many families still raise their own pigs, and free-roaming pigs yield flavourful, lean meat and tasty salumi (cured meats).
Pastries tend to be unsophisticated, yet delicious! Olive oil is often used instead of butter and nuts or dried fruit provide bulk and flavour.
In this cheese-loving region, mozzarella and scamorza take centre stage on the dairy scene and sheep’s milk ricotta, a favourite in central and southern Italy, shows up in fritters and sweet cakes.
When you visit us in Italy you will remember many things and the real Italian Cuisine is one memory that I am sure will stay with you for a long time.