film & videos

  food & wine
  italian american

  free email
  link directory

new york
events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

san francisco
events, links, forum

los angeles
events, links, forum

about us

you can help us!
We're an all volunteer website and need your help to keep going. Here are five ways you can contribute:
1 Donate
2 Buy something
3 Submit a story
4 Volunteer
5 Advertise

get in gear!
New in the gift shop, logo wear and use items!
  PLEASE NOTE: We are experiencing unexpected technical difficulties caused by our web host. We apologize for the inconvenience. During your visit you may experience service and page interruptions - we are in the process of fixing everything and hope to be fully back on our feet soon.
Gourmet Pastas and Sauces on-line

glossary of calabrian and southern italian foods
(return to food)

This list of foods is arranged more or less in menu categories to serve your memory to help you to better understand the ingredients you might find in our collection of Southern Italian recipes.

The terms that are unique to Calabria are starred * * *.Without a star means generic to all of Souther Italy.

This list is excerpted from, Frommer's Food Lovers Companion to Italyand is by no means complete.


Alici: Fresh anchovies; much loved throughout the South.

Alici a Scapece: Fresh anchovies, boned, dipped in flour, and fried, then marinated in a micture of vinegar, herbs and spices.

Caprese: Salad of freshly sliced tomatoes interleaved with slices of mozzarella (preferably bufala), torn basil leaves, and dressed in extra-virgin olive oil.

Friselle (Frisedde) or Frise: Hard twice-cooked bread roll (often, like a split doughnut), first soaked in water, then dressed with tomatoes, oregano and extra-virgin olive oil - a delicious snack with a glass of wine.

Melanzane: Eggplant is one of the favorite and characteristic foods of Southern Italy, eaten regularly and in enormous quantity, as an antipasti (marinated, fried, or baked), on pasta, and as a main course.

Novellame* * * Rosamarina or Mustica: Known as "il caviale del Sud" - the caviar of the South - this distinctive and pungent specialty consists of the small fry of anchovy salted and conserved in a fiery peperoncino sauce, to be spread on bread to eat as an antipasto.

Panzerotti: Little semi-circles of deep-fried dough filled with a variety of mixtures, including meat, cheese and tomato, anchovies and parsley.

Polipi sott'aceto: Boiled octopus cut in pieces and marinated in vinegar and garlic; a popular antipasto nibble.

I PRIMI PIATTI (first dishes)

Lagane and ceci* * * : Hand-cut, rather wide, ribbon noodles served with chickpeas cooked in broth.

Maccheroni : This word may be used to signify any one of a number of different types of pasta.

Spaghetti aglio olio or ajo e ojo : Simplest of pasta dishes - spaghetti dressed with sizzling olive oil and plenty of chopped garlic and chilis.

Spaghetti alle vongole: Spaghetti served with clams on the shell sautted in olive oil with garlic, with wine added. The best and tastiest clams are designated vongole veraci.

I SECONDI PIATTI (second dishes)

Agnello al forno: Lamb, or more usually mutton, baked with wine and herbs.

Capretto alla silana * * *: Hearty stew made from cubes of kid, cooked slowly with onions, potatoes, tomatoes and wine.

Pollo or coniglio alla cacciatore: Chicken or rabbit stewed with tomatoes, olives, garlic and herbs.

Costolette d'agnello alla calabrese: Fried lamb or mutton chops simmered in a tomato sauce flavored with onions, peppers and olives.

Parmigiana di melanzane: Slices of eggplant first fried, then layered with tomato sauce, hard-boiled eggs, slices of mozzarella, and topped with grated parmesan cheese, then baked in the oven.

Pesce spada alla griglia * * *: Thick swordfish steaks grilled over charcoal and seasoned with olive oil and garlic.

Pesce spada alla bagnarese * * *: Gently steamed with olive oil, lemon juice, capers and oregano.

Scamorza alla griglia: Thickly sliced scamorze cheese grilled briefly and served as an alternative to meat.

I CONTORNI (side dishes)

Ciambotta or Cianfotta: Typical Southern vegetable stew combining eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, celery, potatoes, olives and garlic, simmered in olive oil.

Cicoria: A wild chicory, a characteristic bitter salad vegetable.

Fiori di zucchine: Zucchini flowers usually dipped in batter and fried.

I FORMAGGI (cheeses)

Bocconcini: Tiny balls of "mouthfuls" of mozzarella.

Caciocavallo: Large, pear-shaped cheese tied together in pairs and slung over a piece of wood known as the "cavallo" or horse (saw-horse). Like scamorze and provolone, cacciocavallo is sometimes smoked.

Pecorino: Ewe's milk cheese for both eating and grating. Calabrese pecorino is often coated with hot red pepper.

Provolone: Perhaps the most characteristic cheese of the South; made in a process similar to scamorza, but formed into any number of different shapes, including long, fat sausages, little pigs, melons, and pears. Provolone dolce, the mildest version, is aged for up to a year, provolone affumicato is lightly smoked for about a week, then aged for a further three months.

Ricotta: This fresh, mild soft cheese is made from the left-over whey from the milk of cows, sheep, goats and buffaloes; generally eaten with sugar or salt, and used widely in cooking.

Ricotta salata: Ricotta cheese, usually made from ewe's milk, conserved in salt, then left to age until hard. Pleasantly salty yet creamy in flavor. A favorite for grating over pasta.

Scamorza: Important regional pasta filata cheese. It is made by first slicing curd's from cows milk into strips with a mezzaluna (two-handled crescent- shaped knife), leaving them to ferment and develop flavor for at least a few days, then cooking the curds in boiling water, forming large balls that are tied up a one end (or placed in nets), then soaked in brine. Scamorza is sometimes smoked.

Treccia: Braided string of mozzarella or scamorza cheese weighing up to a kilo or more.

I DOLCI (sweets)

see also...
Easter in Scalea
On the Calabrese Stove
Glossary of Calabrian and Southern Italian Foods
What do you know about Umbria?
Visit Calabria
Visit other Italian regions

Biscotti di mandorle: Hard, twice-cooked biscuits made with almonds similar to (Tuscan cantuccini).

Cumpittu * * *: Soft nougat made with honey, almonds, and sesame seeds.

Fichi ripieni alla sibarita: Dried figs stuffed with almonds or walnuts, covered in concentrated grape must, and cooked in the oven. Very sticky and delicious - wooden bozes of this treat make a good gift to take home.

portions exceprted from Frommer's Food Lovers Companion to Italy