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Three Things to Love about Southern Italy

This week’s guest post comes from the fabulous, Cherrye Moore, a Texan who now lives in Italy. (You may remember her funny post a few weeks ago about her nephew stumbling upon a topless sun-bather while visiting her in Italy.) Here’s her official biography:

Cherrye Moore is an American writer and travel consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about life in Calabria on her site My Bella Vita or join her this fall for the Calabria Table Tour, an 8-day cooking, food and wine tour of Calabria.

I’m thinking that Calabria Table Tour sounds like a blast! Anyway, here is a post which originally appeared on Cherrye’s blog in July of 2010:

Three Things to Love about Southern Italy

Last week my friend and expat-in-southern-Italy counterpart, Tina of Tina Tangos wrote about three things to love about living in Italy.

And yes, it is all about the food.

The thing is, Tina and I are both lucky not only to live in Italy, but to live in southern Italy, where the food is apparently that much better. So in addition to Tina’s three things to love, I’d like to add a few of my own.

1. Say Cheese

My husband got quite offended earlier this week when I was near tears at the local Lidl’s British Week when I discovered there was no more Cheddar Cheese.

“You are in Calabria, Cherrye,” he told me. “We have the best cheese in the world.”

Well, since I am yet to sample all of the world’s cheeses and have a few French friends who’d defriend me if I agreed, I’ll just say that yes, Calabria has great cheese.

In fact, Calabrian cheese, especially Provola di Sila and Pecorino Calabrese are some of my favorite things about Calabria, so if you see them when you are out and about, be sure to give them a try.

2. Peperoncino, Per Favore

Oh, I’ve written of my passion for the peperoncino many times over the years, still it is one of my favorite things about southern Italy and thus, merits another mention.

I love how Calabrians use the ever-popular pepper in most of their plates, then offer it freely for those (of us) who’d like to add a little more power to our pranzo. I love how they don’t look at you strangely if you add it to your pasta and how oftentimes you get your choice-fresh, dried or oil-for your pizza.

3. Melanzane Mania

Even in Texas I loved to top my dishes with a pretty pepper or a chunk of cheese, but it is the mighty melanzane-or eggplant, if you please, that has taken me by surprise. This pretty purple produce is great sliced and grilled, fried, rolled into a ball or baked. Unfortunately, perfection has alluded me and most of the time my melanzane ends up either old-soaked or dry. However, my father-in-law is the melanzane master, so luckily for me, I can still get my fill on this Calabrian specialty.

Ok, if you had to choose-what ONE food-related item do you love most about southern Italy?

That question is easy for me to answer, Cherrye. I love Provola Fritta: breaded provola cheese that has been rapidly fried. It is so yummy! By the time you read this, in fact, I very well may have eaten some on our honeymoon trip. I’ll let you know when I return in June.

Photo credit: Courtesy of domitilla ferrari on Flickr.

Tui Snider
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