Southern Italian food hailing from the region of Campania, surrounding the vibrant city of Naples, set alongside the picturesque waters of the Amalfi coast is not only the home of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP and Neapolitan pizza, but a wealth of other delicious locally produced food.
The typical food products from Campania are as wide as they are varied and not simply limited to dairy products - the volcanic zone is full of valuable agricultural raw materials and gastronomic treasures.
Here are some typical products, from San Marzano tomatoes to Giffoni hazelnuts. Come and dream Southern Italian food dreams with us:
16 Must Try Southern Italian Foods
1. Provolone del Monaco PDO
A semi-hard, aged cheese made of spun paste with a slightly spicy flavour, Provolone Del Monaco PDO is produced in the Sorrento Peninsula from the raw milk of Agerolese dairy cows. The cheese takes the form of a kind of small melon, and it can weigh between 2.5 kg and 8 kg.
2. Olivia Salella Ammaccata del Cilento (Cilento Cracked Salella Olive)
The meatier, younger olives are crushed with a rock from the sea, then pitted and immersed in sea water, and pickled and covered in oil. This is a long and patient process that enhances the unique taste of Salella olives, which are now protected by the Slow Food Presidium.
3. Caciocavallo Irpino di Grotta
A native food product of Irpinia, this cheese is made with milk from Brown Swiss Cattle. The ageing process is anywhere from 60 days to six months and takes place in a cave.
4. Faciolo Dente di Morto di Acerra (Acerra Dente di Morto Bean)
The earliest evidence of the existence of these beans dates back to 1700, when they were already so popular that they were exported to America. The opaque white colour lends itself to their name, "dead mans tooth", and they are prized for their excellent texture and intense flavour.
5. Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP (Buffalo Mozzarella DOP)
One of the world's most beloved cheeses and succesful Italian exports needs little introduction. While the production process of Mozzarella di Bufalahas also been introduced into other countries, like the south of England, the genuine article can only be made in this area using fresh whole buffalo milk from an Italian Mediterranean race of buffalo.
6. Salsiccia Calitrana (Calitrana Sausage)
Photo: Fratelli Chirico
A horseshoe–shaped sausage created using only pork from small farms of Irpinia. The ageing process is carried out outdoors, as dictated by tradition.
7. Salamino di Maiale Nero Casertano (Salami from Black Casertano Pigs)
The black pigs of ancient origin are raised outdoors and yield a fairly lean meat. The sausages are made with black pork, salt, spices and white wine.
8. Vitellone Bianco dell'Appennino Centrale (White Beef from the Central Appenines)
The white–coated cattle are slaughtered between 12 and 24 months while the meat is still lean. The beef is particularly valued for its organoleptic and nutritional characteristics.
9. Nocciola di Giffoni (Giffoni Hazelnuts)
Despite being famous for being grown in Northern Italy in Piedmont, the first Italian region for hazelnut production is acually Campania, where 90% of hazelnuts grown are the Tonda di Giffoni variety. The shape, flavour and texture of the nut lends itself well to roasting, but also to grading and shelling: making it particularly popular in the confectinery industry. It's also prized for its nutritional qualities.
10. Carne di Bufalo Campana (Campania Buffalo Meat)
The meat of Buffalo Campana is preferable to veal for its lower fat and cholesterol content, as well as being both tender and juicy aiding its growing popularity.
11. Pomodoro San Marzano DOP (San Marzano Tomatoes)
Originally from the Sarnese–Nocerino area, the San Marzano tomato owes its name to the city symbol of these fruits: San Marzano sul Sarno. Thanks to its elongated shape the tomato is suitable for both peeling and preserving, making it the most beloved tomato in Italy, as well as being one of the most famous internationally.
12. Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP (Tomatoes from Vesuvius Piennolo)
These tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius attribute their name to the unusual way in which they are tied and hung. They have a cherry shape and generally weigh less than 25 grams.
13. Cipolotto Nocerino DOP (Small Onions from Nocerino)
These small to medium sized onion bulbs are usually consumed fresh during the period of collection (spring/early summer). They are grown on volcanic soil, which gives them superior qualities to other fruits and vegetables.
14. Fico Bianco Del Cilento DOP (Cliento White Figs)
The Fico Bianco del Cilento Dop is a dried fig found throughout the south. They come packed in brine, in braids, or loose and are commonly considered one of the finest dried fruits available.
15. Mela Annurca Campana IGP (Annurca Apples from Campana)
Known as the queen of apples this variety is widely considered more tasty and enjoyable to eat. They are also valued for their nutritional properties: they are rich in fibre, have diuretic qualities and are especially recommended for those suffering from diabetes.
This desirable lemon from the Amalfi coast has a tapered shape and an intense aroma thanks to the presence of essential oils. Rich in vitamin C and almost totally devoid of seeds, the Amalfi Lemon is the raw material used to produce the famous limoncello.
Discover Fine Dining Lovers' exclusive Why Waste? video series, featuring Massimo Bottura and his team of chefs, as they teach us how to repurpose leftovers and trimmings in delicious and imaginative ways, from vegetables to dairy. Take a look