Like many other regions in south Italy, the culinary tradition in Puglia is part of what we call “cucina povera:” recipes that are tasty but prepared with simple ingredients, easy to find everywhere.
This month our food tour took us to Basilicata, a beautiful region in southern Italy, rich in mountains, woods, and coasts. We have already shown you Matera, a 2019 European cultural capital, but there is much more to see in this region.
While everyone knows about Lombardia thanks to Milan, or Lazio thanks to Rome, few non-Italians know much about Basilicata. Let us bring you to this undiscovered region full of incredible sites to visit and delicious food.
FOOD, A CRUCIAL ELEMENT OF BASILICATA IDENTITY
Basilicata is in southern Italy, and it borders Calabria and Puglia, as well as the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. While its capital city is Potenza, last year another one of its major cities, Matera, was declared a European Capital of Culture. Basilicata is dotted with picturesque villages, suspended between the sea and the woods, in which you can enjoy nature and historical sites.The region’s cuisine is a crucial element of its cultural identity. Its recipes are simple, but packed with flavors.
MATERA: SASSI AND SPEZZATINO!
Matera is a magical city. It is the city of the sassi, paleolithic human settlements featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city also has many caves, ancient constructions, and remarkable churches. It is no surprise that Mel Gibson chose this breathtaking city as a backdrop for his 2004 movie The Passion. After a day spent walking through this beauty, it’s time to eat. Many recipes from Basilicata can be spicy, having absorbed the culinary influence of its neighboring region, Calabria. Meat is also a typical component of Basilicata’s cuisine. Spezzatino di agnello, lamb stew with potatoes, onion, and peppers, is especially common in the winter. If you are in Matera, you must also try Lucanina, a local pork sausage, accompanied with Matera’s well-renowned bread.
People from Basilicata love spice. Peppers are cultivated in the towns and villages all around Matera and Potenza. One such town is Senise. The Senise pepper variety is sweet and crunchy, and can be used fresh or, as is most common, exsiccated. Ground into powder, it can season meats or soups. Keep following our blog — there’s much more to know about this beautiful region.