While it holds numerous allures, Abruzzo has customarily been one of the less touristed regions of Italy. This could be a blessing mainly because it remains one particular of the greenest, most authentic, and still unspoiled regions of the country—one with special appeals for food and wine enthusiasts.
Genny Nevoso is the Govt Director of the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West (IACCW), a non-financial gain firm dependent in Los Angeles that promotes trade concerning the U.S. and Italy. Beneath her management, one particular of the Chamber’s most ambitious projects has been to get the job done hand-in-hand with the Italian federal government to unfold the term about “True Italian Taste,” the one of a kind, regional food and wine products that have built Italian delicacies a preferred all over the entire world.
Born and bred in Tortoreto Lido, Abruzzo (and possessing lived in the States for 18 years), Nevoso a short while ago had the satisfaction of showcasing the specialty meals and wine of her delivery area to a U.S. audience.
Forbes.com requested Genny to share her insights about Abruzzese gastronomy based on her personal expertise and professional skills.
What are some of the not-to-be-skipped regional specialty food items/dishes connected with Abruzzo?
Genny Nevoso: Abruzzo’s cuisine mirrors the diversified landscapes of the region: from the coastal fish-based mostly dishes to the heartier fare of the mountain towns. The conventional recipes explain to the tale of resilient individuals who have managed to defend character though leveraging its bountiful gifts for survival.
Some specialty meals are Navelli Saffron PDO, Pecorino d’Abruzzo cheese, Campotosto Mortadella, Farindola Pecorino cheese, Pork Sausages preserved in oil, Ventricina to identify a number of.
Spaghetti alla chitarra is perhaps the region’s finest-acknowledged pasta. It is traditionally handmade utilizing a tool resembling a string instrument, generally regarded as a carratur in the neighborhood dialect.
In the Teramo province, this pasta is generally served with a tomato sauce topped with miniature meatballs. As a child this was the ever-present celebratory dish my household cherished and however make to this working day!
Of class, a excursion to Abruzzo is not comprehensive without having a taste of timballo, brodetto di pesce, tacchino alla Canzanese, pallotte cace e ove and earlier mentioned all mutton skewers known as arrosticini, a recipe which taps into the region’s deeply rooted sheep farming custom.
For the duration of the transumanza, shepherds used to lead their flocks all the way to neighboring areas these kinds of as Puglia. Their flocks ended up their security, providing them with meat, milk, and wool.
Growing up in a family members-run restaurant in the beach city of Tortoreto Lido, regional delicacies was usually served with good pride. I nevertheless daydream about the intoxicating aroma flowing up from a grill comprehensive of arrosticini!
What sorts of wines are developed in Abruzzo?
GN: Abruzzo’s most important appellations are Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, which, alone, signifies approximately 80% of the region’s wine, adopted by Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Pecorino and Cerasuolo, Abruzzo’s rosé.
In addition, there are little productions of indigenous white grape varietals this sort of as Cococciola, Passerina and Montonico inside the Abruzzo DOC region, and the glowing Villamagna, a somewhat new DOC.
Whilst Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is effortlessly uncovered in the States, wines by tiny producers are most likely very best tasted at the source.
The Chamber just lately generated a sequence of gatherings to educate buyers and consumers about the “rebirth of the Pecorino grape.” Is it a new wide range?
GN: Truly, I only acquired about this grape varietal recently, myself, thanks to a partnership with the Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini d’Abruzzo and its supervisor, Davide Acerra.
Pecorino is a white grape of ancient origin, indigenous to the Center Adriatic in foothill regions. The grape dates back again to the 2nd century B.C. when it was brought to southern Italy for the duration of the Greek migrations.
It is a very sugary grape, ensuing in wines with a substantial liquor material, excellent structure and marked acidity.
Nonetheless, thanks to its precocious ripening and its scarce manufacturing, it all but disappeared in the 1950s, overtaken by grapes like Trebbiano. Then, it was rediscovered in the ‘80s and ‘90s and is now produced during Abruzzo.
For food items or wine enthusiasts preparing to check out Abruzzo, what are the key not-to-be-missed cities and towns?
GN: Here are some of my favorites:
Santo Stefano di Sessanio
Very best identified for Sextantio, the trendy albergo diffuso—a scattered lodge with rooms positioned in particular person houses within the village—Santo Stefano di Sessanio ranks as 1 of Italy’s most beautiful Medieval hamlets. It is situated inside of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga Nationwide Park, about an hour and a half drive from Rome. Area lentils are just one of 18 Sluggish Foodstuff Presidia in the location.
Castel del Monte
A further outstanding medieval mountain hamlet is Castel del Monte. Nestled in the heart of the Gran Sasso National Park, it features spectacular sights of the Gran Sasso, Majella and Sirente-Velino massifs as nicely as the storybook castle of Rocca di Calascio.
This area is brimming entire of regular bites: check out the calcioni, the culatello di maiale nero, the Pecorino Canestrato di Castel del Monte (a regional cheese designed from uncooked sheep’s milk that is also a Gradual Meals Presidio). Arrosticini (below recognised as “rustell”) style even extra scrumptious with a perspective of the heavenly Campo Imperatore plateau known as Abruzzo’s Little Tibet.
Castel di Sangro
For a three Michelin star culinary experience and impeccable hospitality, Chef Niko Romito’s Restaurant Reale is a have to-pay a visit to. The at any time-evolving self-taught chef explores the crossroad between haute delicacies and regional products and solutions.
A micro-area regarded for excellent wines and EVOO. Verify out Cantina Ciavolich and Masseria Ciavolich for an immersive hospitality working experience.
From Tortoreto Lido to Torano Nuovo
I might be biased as I was born and lifted here but I most surely propose paying out a day chilling in Tortoreto Lido. Appreciate the wonderful sand golden beaches, the miles-prolonged palm tree flanked bike lanes and the tranquil Adriatic waters.
Within a small drive is Torano Nuovo, a modest hilltop city the place Agriturismo Emidio Pepe is situated. At the time the birthplace of the famous winemaker, it gives an amazing, environmentally-helpful escape for food items and wine fans full with lodging, wine tastings and a farm-to-fork cafe.
Costa dei Trabocchi
Heading South together the fabled Adriatic coast, be expecting to be mesmerized by the beautiful extend of coastline between San Salvo and Ortona. It delivers an outstanding chance to find out the Trabocchi, picket constructions after made use of by fishermen.
Soak in the views from the Punta Aderci Mother nature Reserve and the Punta Penna Lighthouse. System to dine at 1 of the dining establishments on the Trabocchi Coastline, lulled by the sea although savoring the cotton sweet sky.
Why is Abruzzo nonetheless “undiscovered” by most holidaymakers?
As a indigenous who promotes Italy for a dwelling, I have normally requested myself this exact dilemma. The response is complex.
Centered on April 2022 studies from the Italian Ministry of Tourism and the Italian Tourist Board, Abruzzo was the tenth most searched Italian location on Google, also ranking third most searched in the resort and lodging group. So we are optimistic.
But Abruzzo’s worldwide fame and tourism progress has been hindered by historical and geographical motives. Worldwide trade and an enriching historic interval, this sort of as the Renaissance, for occasion, have experienced a transformative influence on spots like Florence.
These searching to experience Italy by means of an off-the-crushed route journey, should glance no even further. Recognized as Europe’s “green heart” for its 3 national parks, Abruzzo is extraordinary. It is a lesser recognised, yet stunning region where by uncomplicated traditions in harmony with nature come to be amazing.
From parks and safeguarded spots to the planet-course ski resorts and a 130 km shoreline dotted with good sandy beaches, Abruzzo will acquire you in excess of and compel you to return.
Abruzzo delivers a wealth of evocative trekking, cycling and horseback using itineraries tracking back the life of historical and religious figures this kind of as pope Celestine V and San Francis. For those fascinated by the coastline, the Costa dei Trabocchi is a have to-go to with amazing sights above the Adriatic and enjoyable culinary encounters for seafood aficionados.
When is the finest time of yr to stop by? How do I get there?
GN: For me, the ideal times to stop by are involving April and June or among September (to capture the grape harvest) or early Oct.
Abruzzo is easy to achieve from worldwide airports like Rome’s Fiumicino or Bologna’s Guglielmo Marconi. A several connections are also offered as a result of the Pescara airport, significantly in the summer time.
For those who prefer to get the prepare, the Adriatic coastline is nicely linked via the high-pace railway solutions the journey from Bologna Centrale to Pescara Central in Abruzzo can take just more than 3 hrs.
To get about and take a look at freely, hire a motor vehicle and push (or use another person who does it for you!). Plan your trip effectively in advance. The regional tourism internet site is a fantastic setting up stage to find out about the region, its concealed treasures and locating itineraries that suit your interests.
Note: This conversation has been evenly edited and condensed for clarity.