Above: A dish from Ristorante Da Ercole in Crotone, Italy

Notable Calabrian Restaurants

The regional kitchens of Italy are brilliantly diverse, and the Calabrian table is finally being appreciated for its unique produce and recipes. Foods typical of Calabria include bergamot, a citrus fruit grown in orchards around Reggio Calabria; sweet red onions from Tropea; caciocavallo, a tangy, salty cow’s milk cheese; hot red peppers; seafood, including swordfish, tuna, octopus and rock lobster brought in from the waters of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas; and ’nduja, a pepper-spiked pork spread. (’Nduja is now available in the United States, and La Quercia charcuterie company in Norwalk, Iowa, makes a domestic version, which is sold on Amazon and in specialty stores; it’s excellent on pasta and in scrambled eggs.)

Among the many Calabrian dishes to sample during a trip here are these standouts: lagane e cicciari (wide noodles with chickpeas sautéed in olive oil and garlic), maccaruni e casa (a pasta made of durum wheat semolina prepared by wrapping a sheet of pasta around a thin cane to create a hollow tube), stoccafisso (dried salt cod prepared in a variety of ways, including with parsley, wedges of potato and tomato purée) and licurdia (a rich vegetable soup based on Tropea onions).

Recently, Calabria has seen a restaurant renaissance, with talented native-born chefs opening eateries that reinvent traditional foods and recipes for the 21st century.

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