Life in Abruzzo Food & Travel Guide

All about Abruzzo food & travel in a cherry-picked fashion

Food

Pumpkin, Rosemary & Raisin Fritters

Why eat pie when you can indulge and have these delectable pumpkin, rosemary & raisin fritters rolled in crunchy cinnamon sugar

Pizzelle, Cancellate … Nonna’s Ugly Iron that Melts Hearts

An Abruzzese light and tasty must-try dish that rivals the region’s beloved arrosticini for fame are Pizzelle, Cancellate, Neole or Ferratelle depending on which of the provinces you are in

Sweet Giulia’s Ricotta & Chocolate Lattice Tart

A moist and light ricotta and chocolate lattice tart all the way from Manoppelo Abruzzo, home to Veronica’s Veil and Casale Centurione Country House

Stuffed! By Prezza’s Artichoke Royalty

Tenacious & hardy can be used to describe the ladies from Prezza but also to their legendary artichokes that grow just 1 side on the balcony of Abruzzo

Pescarese Baked Fish with Lemon Caper Mash

The Abruzzesi adore their baked fish,(Pesce al Cartoccio), and it varies in each of the 3 provinces that nudge its Adriatic coast

Annamaria’s Aromatic Pasta Tomato Sauce (Sugo)

Stuck with dreary tomatoes instead of a jar of sun-drenched pera d’Abruzzo tomatoes, here’s Annamaria’s aromatic pasta sauce recipe to give them life

Mimina’s Christmas Pastries – Ceci Ripieni

Mimina’s tasty Christmas pastries ceci ripeni are a little different to those we eat up in the province of Teramo and called caggionetti. They team chickpeas, almonds and dark chocolate and coat them in the town of Prezza’s famous mosto cotto, encasing them in a soft egg based fried pastry

Danilo Cortellini’s Ascolana Olives & Fritto Misto

Taking elements from both Abruzzo & Le Marche this dish is a fried heaven of lamb, battered vegetables, sweet custard fritters and olive all’Ascolana; these amazing olives are stuffed with meat, breaded and deep fried to crispy perfection

Tasty Unions & Beautiful Pecorino Pairings

Great cheese especially Abruzzo pecorino has a richness that allows for all manner of bitter, sweet and fruity pairings which bolster it from a simple piece of superb cheese to something magical that lingers

Saragolla – Abruzzo’s Blonde Egyptian Queen

The tale of a small ancient Egyptian grain: hard & glassy like amber, nicknamed the ‘Pharaoh’s Wheat’ that flourished in Abruzzo post migration and genocide

Bocconotti Montoriesi – Abruzzo’s Seductive Spirit Boasting Pastries

Bocconotti Montoriesi are seductive rustic pastries that celebrate Abruzzo’s most acclaimed harvests around the former Roman small town of Montorio Val Vomano in Teramo. 

Cachi – Winner of Italy’s Most Beautiful Autumn Fruit

Cachi is Italy’s most aesthetically beautiful Autumn fruit. Its soul-stirring shades of spotted pinks, reds & orange leaves counter setting the clocks back

The Cradling Mother of Abruzzo Pasta

Who doesn’t love traditional great tasting pasta that cradles its sauce instead of it splatting onto the plate?  Apparently the key is semolina!

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Fried Cheese, Capers and Mint

Taking up the cookery challenge from Nonna next-door of my favourite summer dish, deep fried stuffed zucchini flowers

Maria’s Stuffed Mussels

Maria’s Stuffed Mussels are delicious & deny Italian purists the ability to disdainfully say “ma no no no we don’t eat fish and cheese together”

Saffron & Baccalà Fritters with Pepper Ricotta

Saffron batter – a decadent, glorious way to celebrate Epiphany or something a little flashy to take your mind off your bank balance

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Mostaccioli Cookies

Mostaccioli… delicious Italian Christmas cookies that can use up half drunk bottles of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo left over from the night before

Zucchini Polenta Cakes

If cooking la pizza di mais without a fireplace and it’s modern day stove variant doesn’t have the same resonance you could try Zucchini Polenta Cakes

Guardiagrele Torrone – A Storyteller’s Sweetmeat

Not many Abruzzo sweets can boast being the favourite of Ignazio Silone, the region’s most famous author acclaimed for his Abruzzo Trilogy.

Real Men Blowdry – An Arrosticini Classic

Skewer me down or should that be spiedini, my summer was spent in finding the perfect arrosticini from Abruzzo to London juicy succulent tender mouthfuls of grilled castrato

Sod the Geraniums Colour Me Peperoncini & Dulce

No matter how much I appreciate the blast of soft colour that geraniums force into a harsh Abruzzo summer white light, I love even more the swags of wizened peperoncini

Dry Shrivelled & Bewildered

Dry, Shrivelled and Bewildered hmm that’s the finale to the tomato crop this year, as sung in my head by our neighbours anyway.

Blackberry & Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Granita

Blackberries, arhhh such an easy catapult back to childhood, those fat juicy blackberries being such easy low-level pickings for any age at any time

Sfogliatelle – The Pastry Beyond Time

How do you describe sfogliatelle beyond perhaps as one of Abruzzo’s and Southern Italy’s favourite indulgences?

Aglio Styling by Maestro Luigi

Hung out to dry, one of those verbs and idioms that means so much more to farmers and foodies and the drying season has begun in earnest in Abruzzo

Brodetto Vastese – The Winding Barter Fish Soup

Brodetto Vastese the winding barter fish soup that like James Bond’s martini you shake not stir

Sweet Bedfellows Squid in Tomato Sauce with Polenta

Succulent sweet squid in a thick tomato sauce served on a bed of creamy grilled polenta – juxtaposed textures make for unlikely but perfect bedfellows

Plutonic Love – Italia’s Mint Pancakes

If you’re looking for an alternative to the typical Shrove, Fat, Martedi Grasso waist extenders you could try Italia’s sublime mint pancakes

Orange & Pistachio Lady Marmalade

When facing down a caustic winter wind and shovelfuls of snow it’s time to make marmalade with its warming bitter sweet aroma that permeates each room in the house

Timballo Alla Teramana – A Cook’s Landscape

More than just a scrumptious Abruzzo ‘pie’, Timballo Teramana is a cook’s panoramic photograph of the fertile Teramo landscape

The Pot Bellied Big One – Ventricina Teramana

A delicious squishy salami by the name of Ventricina Teramana lightly spread onto smoky bruschetta is perfect for stamping on Jack Frost’s party plans

Warm Pumpkin & Hazelnut Autumn Panzanella

What would panzanella or its seasonal variants be without gorgeous olive oil, the key that unlocks and lets a dish’s ingredients bask and us to lap them up

Abruzzo’s Autumn Walking Colours via La Mascionara

Autumn in Abruzzo begins in earnest in mid-October, down on its wine-growing hills, valleys and Adriatic beaches it’s still a temperate 24C mid-October

Eating the Arcobaleno – Navelli’s Rainbow Pot

Navelli in L’Aquila is famous for two autumn crops, saffron & chickpeas, combined with rainbow chard they make the perfect one-pot dish

Abruzzo Ferragosto Dessert – Ricotta with Marinated Peaches

With Ferragosto’s multi-course feast arrival, it’s time to find an Abruzzo peach of a dessert that’s delicious & will slip down after the previous excess

Get Stuffing – Cornetto Stuffed Peppers (Peperoni Ripieni)

Stuffing – one of the most universally loved comfort foods with an ability to transform a base ingredient into a show stealer like in ‘Stuffed Peppers’

Figs Glorious Figs – Chieti Fig Orange & Fennel Seed Tart

A traditional Chieti fresh fig tart that’s perfect for summer and a great way to entice that very rare breed of ‘not fond of figs’…

Meltdown – An Ice-Cream Meditation Moment

When the going gets sticky and the temperature nudges 40°C you know it’s time to hit the ice-cream parlour, especially one like Copa De Dora where it’s home-made

Talli d’aglio – Most Delicate Waste Not Want Not Seasoning

Fresh talli d’aglio resemble a long skinny spring onion with woody multi-kneed joints no wonder I didn’t recognise them from the jars of preserved ‘Zolla’ I’d had

The Pull of Wild Marjoram

Mmmmm sweet marjoram, I grow it on my terrace and the old ladies in the their orto but its pull is outdone by that of the scrubby wild patch of wild marjoram

St Tommaso & the Morizio’s Inspirational Beans & Bitter Greens

There is nothing quite like being out in Abruzzo in the summer and being served beans with the addition of some curly bitter greens

Ratify Summer with Cherry & Ricotta Ice-Cream

There’s nothing in the world like sweet juicy cherries & their loud welcome to the start of the summer – but cherry ice-cream is the best way to ratify summer!

Liquorice: All Sorts in Abruzzo

Abruzzo liquorice may not have as intriguingly edible a mascot as Bassetts’ Bertie, but it has a pedigree of greater antiquity perhaps than even Britain’s

Shepherd’s Steak – Abruzzo’s Pastoral Cheese on Toast

A traditional Abruzzo cheese recipe that combines 2 of my favourite ingredients: cheese & mint as well as being a canny roadmap to its socio-economic history

Aladdin’s Cave of Veggie Delight & O so Much More

An Aladdin’s Cave of multicoloured delights & weekly changing cornucopia of beans & dried things to stumble into which show local can compete with the big boys

Virtues of Le Virtù – Teramo’s Tasty Spring Clean Soup

May 1 sees the Teramo region of Abruzzo celebrate with Le Virtù, a big, strong & incredible soup the aim of allowing you to taste 28 ingredients individually

Fiadoni – Fee-fi-fo-fum I Smell a Gorgeous Cheese Pastry…

How I love Fiadone, I still have no idea whether to define them as a cheese pie, dumpling or what others strangely call an Easter flan even though it has a lid

An Abruzzo Easter Springtime Tradition – Agnello Cacio e Ovo

One of Abruzzo’s tastiest springtime traditions, agnello cacio e ovo (lamb in lemon, egg & cheese sauce) arrives with the Easter celebrations

Blissful Breakfast – Almond Lemon & Ricotta Cake

A tangy Almond Lemon & Ricotta Cake for gluttons that like to indulge in a couple of slices like me, it’s gluten & butter free…

Abruzzo’s Succulent Spring Grass – Agretti

Raving about succulent spring grass is something normally reserved for those rearing animals rather than cooking but agretti is something to shout about

Pink Step into Abruzzo Summer with an Orchard Beat

Celebrating summertime in Cellino Attanasio; grey hues of dusk softening those baroque orchard blossoms as our neighbours get busy with olives husbandry

Blessed are the Primavera Peas Givers

Oh the charm of my local veggie lady who sets up stall in Tossicia & oozes rapport; she could teach Retail Experts plenty about the beauty of repeat purchases!

Happy Birthday Italy – United by Odori

Celebrating 150 years with one common scented tri-colour, ‘odori’ that whose scent when frying in olive oil cause stomachs to gurgle cartwheels in anticipation

Carnival Topsy-Turvy Pasta – Ravioli Dolci

Carnevale is famous for things being turned upside down; women become men, men become animals & ravioli gets an equal flipping in Abruzzo’s Teramo province

Mazzarelle – Abruzzo’s Haggis Dolmades

What to eat when the wind whistles down the chimney and seems to have frozen every last bit of moisture in the ground? Perhaps Mazzarelle Teramane in rich sugo

February, Fever, Fishbones & Fenugreek Biscuits

Fever, February, Fishbones & Fenugreek are not something that grab you as having a lot in common today I learnt otherwise

Upside Down Wild Cherry & Chocolate Polenta Cake

Swirly whirly snowflakes are falling outside; to revive flavours of Abruzzo summer I baked an upside down chocolate & wild cherry polenta cake

The Fourth Musketeer & Salsiccia di Fegato

The prominence & importance of the local butcher is, dare I whisper, more than the priest; this is the man who really will see you right in this world

The Start of an Abruzzo Christmas Feast – Minestra di Cardi

Across Abruzzo’s valley and mountains, the Christmas lunch feast more often than not begins with peppery Cardoons cooked in a rich chicken broth

Caggionetti, Calgionetti, Caggiunitt at Christmas Time

No matter how you pronounce them, Abruzzo’s traditional Christmas treats Caggionetti are one of the best Christmas treasures around

Beetroot & Farro Soup with Peperoncini & Pancetta Sprinkles

When the snow shuffles down the Abruzzo’s mountains, a cacophony of snowflakes, icicles scream “minestra time” especially farro & beetroot soup

Damn Fine Turkey Nereto

Damn fine turkey aka Nereto Turkey (Tacchino alla Neretese); is not something I ever thought I’d be either eating or writing about

Navelli’s Saffron Queen and the Power of Bling

How the Italian Renaissance love of bling picked-up the fortunes of Navelli in L’Aquila via the production of saffron, its precious red gold spice

Romanesco Cauliflower Soup with Conchigliette

This cauliflower soup was inspired by one of our recent NY guests who had mentioned seeing a lime-coloured cauliflower broccoli in Bologna, what was it?

Moo it’s Time for Squacquerone Abruzzese Style

Squacquerone is a fresh & Italian tangy cow cheese that has been given an Abruzzesi makeover by the artisan cheesemakers La Mascionara

Spicy Italian Roasted Pickled Onions Antipasti

Cipolline are an Italian pearl onion found all over Abruzzo in the Autumn that are perfect for making into spicy roast pickled onions for an antipasti

Abruzzo Beans Plus Greens Rape & Borlotti

Beans plus greens isn’t something that n measures high on the “excitometer”, but an age-old traditional Abruzzi dish of borlotti & rape is so tasty

The Enticement of Roasted Peppers

“And the smell of Fire-Roasted Peppers Began Licking round the Door” an extra temptation to the colourful noises and smells of village life in Abruzzo

Abruzzo Autumn Comfort Fest – Fritti di Latte

Autumn weather and a windy afternoon outside just screams for Fritti di Latte, which is a speciality all around Montorio al Vomano in Abruzzo’s Teramo province

Bascianella’s Fagioli Rock

Beanz Meanz Barrowfuls of Fagioli, sweet & creamy, beautifully dapled Borlotti Beans to give them their real name, to shell in September.

Pecorino’s Perfect Pear Partner

A bucketful of windfall pears goes a long way into providing some relish to pecorino cheese…

Rosemary Crisp Beach Snack Bliss

These rosemary crisps have become our beach snack bliss along with a glass or 2 of pear juice, here’s the recipe…

The Power of Pancetta

Die-hard vegetarians frequently say that the only thing they miss is a bacon sandwich; away from Abruzzo I miss La Mascionara’s pancetta

Chilling with Watermelon & Peperoncini Honey Granita

This zesty watermelon granita recipe pulls together Abruzzo’s most readily available ingredients & flavours at the start of summer

Summer Treat – Ravioli with Ricotta & Walnuts

If you are looking for a light, tasty & inexpensive filling for some summer ravioli, one classic stuffing is walnut & ricotta

Plaiting the Abruzzo Sun; a Frittata Recipe With the Remains

It’s pick and plait time here in Abruzzo at the moment, with onions and garlic becoming works of art

Last of the Wild Asparagus & Start of Unofficial Summer

Unofficially Summer has begun as the last of the wild asparagus is picked or rather not available to be picked

It’s not all Calamari -Totani Ripieni: Stuffed Squid Recipe

Squid, one of the Adriatic’s most beautiful, elegant yet predacious creatures; mournful enough to make you really think twice about eating it

Foodies Photography Competition

Our photography competition is to remember those affected by L’Aquila’s earthquake & celebrate their cuisine to recapture the spirit of ‘home’

Ceci dell’Aquila – a Delicious Chickpea Stew

How to fight off the hissing winter blades of freezing castle drafts – feast on hot bowls of stewed Ceci dell’Aquila.

La Porchetta – An Abruzzo Spring Break Treat

Exploring the Abruzzo provinces of Teramo, Chieti, Pescara & l’Aquila in the Spring with a salty porchetta panino in hand

For the Love of Borlotti

Borlotti lingua di fuoco (tongue of fire) sounds like an opera with aphrodisiac qualities rather than one of the eldest variety of the beautiful borlotti bean

Pasta Fagioli con le Cotiche all ‘Abruzzese Recipe

I use Queen of Abruzzo cuisine Anna Teresa Callen’s recipe for Pasta fagioli con le cotiche all ‘Abruzzese in her recipe book Food & Memories of Abruzzo

Roll Over Ruby Slippers, it’s Tasty Olive Oil that Transports you Home to Abruzzo

Roll over Dorothy, you may put on a pair of ruby slippers to get home, but for a quick hit of Abruzzo we uncork my neighbours olive oil

A Tasty Abruzzo Christmas Present

Porta dei Parchi offers the perfect solution for those seeking an Abruzzo or Italian Christmas present for the family who love a little bit of cheese!

A Cachi Christmas

If there is one thing that grows extremely well in time for Christmas in Abruzzo it is persimmon, known locally as cachi or as kaki & fruit of the gods

Sulmona Red Garlic Probably the Best Garlic in the World

Red Sulmona Garlic is barely known outside the world of gourmets, chefs and those who have been on holiday to Abruzzo Italy but once you try you’ll be hooked

Thorny Flavours – Abruzzo Cardoons & Artichokes

One thing not to miss whilst eating out on holidays in Abruzzo is those most noble of thistles – the delicate artichoke and the peppery cardoon

La Porta dei Parchi &the Best Organic Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta yum! If you LOVE a cheese in which you can savour the Abruzzi Apennine meadows & taste the 120 herbs that were grazed to produce it, you’ll love this!

Peperoncino, Abruzzo’s Fiery Protagonist

If you love a holiday of colour and the wake up zing of chillies in your food, September is the time to holiday in Abruzzo. This is the time for diavolino!

Best Place to Food Shop in Abruzzo

The very best place to food shop in Abruzzo is our own village of Bascianella; most small mountain villages in the Gran Sasso Mountains have a daily delivery

The Tastiest Lentil ever – Lenticchia di Santo Stefano

The precious Puy Lentil had better watch out, its delicious Italian cousin, the Lenticchia di Santo Stefano (lens culinaria) is soon to be awarded DOP status

Italia’s Perfect Pasta

Part of the fun of living in Abruzzo is understanding their criteria for what counts and what doesn’t; the belly rules supreme over other body bits in Abruzzo!