wine grottos

Pietragalla, Magical World of the “Palmenti” Wine Grottos in Basilicata

The wine grottos of Pietragalla capture the imagination. The little cave-like structures that emerge spontaneously from the earth evoke another world, perhaps that of an ancient people or even of hobbits. They are called palmenti, and you will find this atmospheric complex in South Italy, specifically in northern Basilicata, just twenty kilometers from Potenza, the region’s capital.

Amaro Silano, Amaro Lucano, Vecchio Amaro del Capo

Amaro, Those Alluring Bitters, A Few Classics from Calabria and Basilicata

At the end of a copious Italian meal, you will invariably be offered something to drink, a digestivo, such as a liquore, possibly an amaro, or a brandy, perhaps a grappa… These beverages with a rather high alcoholic content aid in digestion, thus the name, digestif. Most have a strong connection with their place of origin, such as the Vecchio …

Museo del Bergamotto

The Bergamot Museum in Reggio Calabria

People are constantly asking me to give them the highlights of Calabria, to sum it up in a sentence or two. Why should they read my book or scroll through my 100+ blogposts about the region? They want a soundbite, and amongst the myriad of enticements, I’ve found that the bergamot sparks interest. And now, the history of this remarkable …

Morzello di Catanzaro

Morzello of Catanzaro, “Once Upon a Time” in a Calabrian Kitchen

Much ado is made over what is referred to as cucina povera, simply put, the cuisine of the poor. These dishes are rooted in tradition and authentically recreate recipes with locally sourced ingredients. Today, patrons of the world’s best restaurants clamor for this tasty, wholesome food of humble origins. In Catanzaro, one such rustic dish has become a symbol of …

peperoncino calabrese

The Peperoncino Calabrese, A Little Spice is Always in Vogue

I’ve noticed the word “calabrese” showing up with more frequency on Italian menus in the United States, often as a synonym for spicy: calabrese sausage, calabrese pizza, pasta alla calabrese … What do these dishes have in common? That little hot pepper affectionately known as the peperoncino, and Calabria has a certain reputation in its regard. The region boasts a …

Italian bar

The Italian Bar — Dolci Capricci in Reggio Calabria

Fantasioso … creative, imaginative … Italian bars are like the people. “Prendiamo un caffè.” Let’s get a coffee. An Italian bar is always, and I mean always, a stone’s throw away. Italians love their coffee, that thimbleful of dark liquid they throw back with such style. It’s about the coffee, but it’s also about the ritual, the culture, maybe even …