Aromas and tastes
This itinerary will take you on a trip to discover the aromas and tastes of the Campania land. Aromas and tastes that make you heady and which remain firmly stamped on your memories. On your trip to Naples you should not miss out on learning about the eating and drinking culture of this region, that is known for its delicious products that are tightly linked to the fertile local land and that are exported all over the world due to their excellent quality. A holiday to Naples can therefore be the opportunity to try these unique products, some of which are available all over Italy, but which only keep their original taste and freshness in Campania.
The local products
In addition to San Marzano tomatoes that we have already talked about in our pizza itinerary, the fertile Campania soil produces many other fruits and vegetables, some of which are so special and unique that they come under the category "indicazione geografica protetta" (IGP- a certification given to some products produced in a specific protected area of Italy). Lets look at a few of them here:
Lemons from Sorrento and Lemons from the Amalfi Coast famous worldwide as an essential ingredient for limoncello, they are very different from traditional lemons: they are larger, have a strong aroma and have a thick peel and juicy pulp. The areas where this special type of lemon is grown, on terraces, has been part and parcel of the landscape on the Sorrento peninsula and Amalfi coastline for centuries.
Annurca Apple Archeological digs at Herculaneum have brought to light ancient frescoes that show this special fruit, as proof of its ancient origins. The Annurca Apple is the most excellent of apples: perfumed, with a crunchy inner and an unmistakable taste.
Montella Chestnuts the Lombards were the first to notice the value of this versatile fruit in 571 A.D. and set up a law to protect the Montella chestnuts.
Giffoni Hazelnuts The traditions linked to the cultivation and sale of this type of hazelnut go back centuries, and are documented in the Naples National Museum. The Montella hazelnut is considered one of the finest.
Cheeses and salami
Cheese-making in this area has long-standing traditions: information about the production techniques used goes back as far as 500 B.C. Once upon a time, the working-class areas of Naples were crowded with stalls that sold huge white cheeses, scamorze and caciocavallo in all shapes and stages of maturation.
Other local cheeses include the delicious, super-calorie containing burrata, a kind of mozzarella filled with cream and butter, mozzarella fiordilatte, made from cows milk and of course mozzarella di bufala.
For salami products in Naples, there is salame di Napoli with its unmistakable smoky and spicy taste, that is still made according to the antique traditions of the Campania farm-workers.
Cakes and pastries
While walking in Naples, you will inevitably catch sight of the numerous glittering pastry shop windows that can be found lining the citys streets and squares. You just cannot miss out on tasting one of the typical Neapolitan pastries: babà, usually flavored with rum or limoncello, sfogliatella, struffoli. The pastiera napoletana deserves a special mention: it is a dessert made from wheat and ricotta cheese, flavored with orange blossom essence and has ancient origins.
The story goes that in ancient times it was made to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Then when pagan festivals made room for Christian traditions, the pastiera became the traditional Naples Easter cake.
In Naples coffee is a ritual you just cannot miss out on. It was once made with the traditional Neapolitan coffee-maker made famous by Edoardo De Filippo and Totò. Today coffee is made with the Italian moka espresso coffee maker following a few technical tricks that all Neapolitans know perfectly. First of all, the moka should never be washed with washing-up liquid, but rinsed with warm water only. Remember that if you have just bought a moka espresso coffee-maker you should use it without coffee grains inside once or twice at first, filled just with water or ready-made coffee. The secret of a good cup of espresso coffee lies in not pressing down the coffee grains too hard in the filter and turning the flame down to a minimum as soon as the coffee starts to gurgle, leaving it for a few seconds before taking it off the hob and serving.
One of the most famous, traditional coffee shops in Naples where a perfect "tazzuttella" of coffee is served is the elegant Caffè Gambrinus in Piazza Trieste e Trento, on the corner of Via Chiaia.
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