Yet imprecise in its geographical borders, Ciociaria has a culinary identity. The food is simple but tastes delicious. There are no fancy recipes. Ingredients stand on their own. It’s all about the earth here. They make the most of the ingredients themselves. Everything tastes so delicious because of the soil the crops grow in here and because of what they feed their animals.
Here the bread is fascinating. Its preparation is still connected to popular traditions: the bread is baked in a wood stove and is made with just four ingredients: yeast, water, salt and flour. The fermentation of the yeast is what gives this bread its tastiness. Click here to see how Bertina cooks real homemade Italian bread in Ciociaria ;).
Here the olive harvest is a tradition. It is still an important part of cooking, and that’s why they take care of every detail from the harvesting to the “monita”, that is the pressing of olives. You will love a slice of rustic bread with a drizzle of the native olive oil of Ciociaria – Rosciola, fruity, a bit spicy, with light flavours of almond and artichoke. Click here to see how olive oil is extracted from olives in Ciociaria.
Here cheese has no equal. Buffalo mozzarella (coming from Amaseno valley with 14,000 buffalos – three times the number of human inhabitants) stands out for its supreme quality, the most delicate ricotta to be eaten with grape jam are unparalleled for tastiness, creamy pecorino made in small sizes according to the strict rules of tradition, “marzolina”, extremely tasty fresh cheese obtained from goat’s milk in limited periods of the year, caciottas undergo a thorough maturing in the mountains. Buffalo mozzarella from Italy is the most difficult cheese to replicate. Click here to lean more about its production
Specialities that cannot be missed are the main courses of home made fresh pasta – “maccaruni cugli feri”, ravioli ricotta e cannella (ravioli with ricotta and cinnamon), strozzapreti (priest stranglers), pizzicotti, sagne pelose (hairy cuts of pasta), patacche (a sort of large cut egg noodles), gnocchi, le tagliatelle, “fini fini” – all flavoured with tomato, meat or river fish sauces. And of course you will love deliciuos homemade soups – minestra di pane (bread soup) and zucca alla latta (pumpkin soup).
Prosciutto di Guarcino, pork sausages, salami and in general all products of the pork-butcher’s are very good thanks to old techniques of breeding of pigs some of which are still reared in freedom in the mountain areas. The area is also famous for buffallo and goat meat dishes, deliciously stewed, cooked in wine until it almost braised or “alla cacciatora” (spiced).
Ciociaria is truffle country too. Prized white truffles are celebrated in the fall, but during spring and summer special dishes are showered with aromatic dark brown or black truffles.
Crespelle, served sweet or salted with vegetables, are simply to die for.
And let’s not forget about local wines. Cicociaria has been famous for its wines since ancient times and several zones produce excellent grapes. You will be surprised to find a variety of prestigious local wines, such as Cesanese of Piglio (the only DOCG Latium wine!), Passerina of Piglio, the Cabernet of Atina and Torre Ercolana of Anagni.
DESSERTS AND PASTRIES
Amaretti di Guarcino, Torroncini of the Comino Valley, La Pigna, Panpepato are delicacies that cannot be missed. And thez make here the best wine donuts of Italy – “‘mbriachele”! Click here to see a short video about artisan Ciociarian deserts and pastries.