Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.
Next in our series is the region of Abruzzo. Though perhaps not as famous as its regional neighbor to the west, Lazio, this geographically central but culturally southern Italian region has a culinary scene that features some very well known foods and wines, as well as spectacular beaches on the Adriatic Sea and mountains to the west, including the famous Gran Sasso d’Italia. Which of these regional specialties would you pick on a visit to Abruzzo?
The Main Dish
Maccheroni alla Chitarra: Probably one of the most famous dishes from the Abruzzo region, the Maccheroni alla chitarra will make you sing an encore! Freshly made dough from eggs and durum wheat are cut into strips using a wooden cutter that resembles guitar strings. “Chitarra” translated literally means “guitar.”
Abruzzo Sea Food Specialties
Brodetto– Fish soup; broth cooked with small size fish, crustaceans, and vegetables. The vegetables of the Abruzzo region are the famous artichokes from Prezza, beans of Frattura, potatoes of Roccapia, and lentils grown in S. Stefano di Sessanio.
Lamb, Lamb, Lamb
Abruzzo has an abundance of local lamb dishes. Try these 3:
Arrosticini– Pieces of lamb on a skewer, cooked on open fire. Look out for the restaurants that specialize only in Arrosicini.
Pecora al cotturo– Lamb stuffed with herbs cooked in a shepherds copper pot.
Agnello cacio e oro– Lamb stew with cheese and eggs.
For the Sweet Tooth
Confetti: Abruzzo has the largest production of Confetti, sugar covered almonds. They are made specifically in the city of Sulmona and date back to Medieval times. In that era they were “served at the end of the meal as a friendship, best wishes or goodwill in commercial or political agreement” (See http://new.italianchamber.net.au/en/abruzzo/). Today they are still used in this way, mainly in bomboniere, which are party favors for every occasion.
Abruzzo wines are among the most prominent in the world. Some examples include:
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a full-bodied young red wine
The Cerasuolol wine, which is a nicely scented cherry red
The Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, a dry white wine.