Campania is a region of Italy that’s located in the south. In terms of where it is on the boot; it’s the lower shin. It’s a region that has hills, mountains and a spectacular coastline, know as the Amalifi Coast. It has been said that, “The Amalfi Coast is the most beautiful place in the world.” I’m not sure if this statement is true, but it is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Because of its beauty, it is a popular destination for vacationers.
Campania is most know for its city of Naples, the Amalfi Coast (which includes Capri) and Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that sits in the middle of the Bay of Naples. The land in this area is rich in volcanic soil, due to Mt. Vesuvius. This soil turns out the most delicious and sweetest tomatoes, especially the famous, San Marzano. Some of the other foods that Campania is know for are; lemons, capers, buffalo mozzarella (which is made from buffalo milk) and along the coast, plenty of seafood.
The Amalfi Coast was one of the first places in Italy I traveled. I was so excited to go. This region is the birth place of my grandparents. This trip became an eye opening experience for me, knowing that my ancestors lived their lives here. First off, I couldn’t believe the sheer beauty of every town on the coast. We drove along the mountain, with the bluest water I’ve ever seen below us. We stayed in the little sea side village of Positano, in the
San Pietro Hotel. The hotel was fabulous, but all I could think about, was getting lost in the winding streets to explore the town. As I walked, I saw similarities in the people to my family; not only the way they looked, but their hand gestures, expressions, and mannerisms. I suddenly, began to understand things about my family and myself, that I never understood before.
One night, we went to a restaurant called Restorante Donna Rosa. We hopped into a taxi, not knowing what we were in for. We began to drive up a VERY steep mountain. Mind you, our hotel was at the bottom of the mountain and the restaurant was just about at the top. There were no guard rails, no traffic lights, it was dark and oh, I forgot to mention, it was 2 way. I have never been so nervous in my life. I think I went up the mountain with my eyes closed.
When we finally arrived at the restaurant, (after I thanked God for getting us there safely), I stepped out onto the restaurant terrance, which looked down the mountain. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The full moon was reflecting off the glistening water. The mountains curved along the shore, like rippling waves, and there were tiny white and amber lights that were twinkling from the homes that were built into the rock. I was so totally and utterly in awe and completely overwhelmed, that I began to cry. I think it was a combination of the beauty, the family history and the beginning of understanding my heritage. I was never so proud to be part of this culture, as I was at that very moment.
D I V A
This month I’m going to focus on the food of Campania. Each week I will post dishes from different courses of a meal. Antipasti, primi piatti, secondo piatti e dolce. (appetizers, first course, second course and dessert.) I put my own spin on some dishes that may be familiar to you; but I also hope to show you some dishes that are new. I will focus on what this region is best known for.
I hope you join me while I explore the food of Campania, Italy; the birth place of my family.
RECIPES INSPIRED BY THE REGION OF CAMPANIA:
*Cozze al Vino Bianco(Steamed mussels in white wine)
*Insalata Caprese (mozzarella & tomato salad)
*Il Pane di Pasqua (Easter Bread)
*Orecchiette con rapini e fagioli (pasta w/ broccoli rabe & cannellini beans
*Christmas Pasta (cappellini w/ anchovy, nuts & raisins)
*Spaghetti con Acciuga, Capperi e Pangrattato (spaghetti w/ anchovy, capers & breadcrumbs)
*Stuffed Vinegar Peppers
*Bistecca Puttanesca (steak w/ anchovy, gaeta olives, capers & tomatoes)