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Basilicata is a land caught between the sea and the mountains, and is home to some of the most delicious cheeses and sausages in southern Italy, which have received special attention over the years as well as harnessing European food trademark status.
One of the least populated areas of Italy, the small region has proudly maintained its farming traditions and rural countryside making it a mecca for traditional specialities.
Among the spread of typical products from Basilicata, one of the best known is the Caciocavallo Podolian, a soft cheese, also produced in Calabria and Puglia.
But the Basilicata is not only about dairy products and sausages: among the most traditional products are also Sarconi Beans IGP and the eggplants of Rotonda Rosse.
Discover more of the specialities of this beautiful region below:
1. Canestrato di Moliterno IGP
One of the most famous cheeses of Lucano: the Canestrato of Moliterno is produced in many areas of Basilicata, made from sheep and goats milk and herds bred only in the region's pastures. The ageing process is only undertaken in the particular region of Moliterno. Slightly spicy in flavour the cheese can be eaten fresh or aged and is ideal for grating.
Casieddu is another typical cheese from Lucano, enjoyed fresh or when young. Produced in the area of Moliterno it acquires its characteristic aroma thanks to Calamintha Nepeta Sav, a very aromatic herb. The fresh cheese is firmly wrapped in fern leaves and consumed at the table after a minimum of 60 days ageing.
3. Caciocavallo Podolico
Caciocavallo Podolian is a typical product of some regions of Southern Italy such as Basilicata, Calabria and Puglia. Made using a traditional technique from the milk of podolica cows, which were the most widespread breed for 250 years, raised only in the wild, and have since been replaced by other cattle over the years. The cows milk is considered to be very high quality and comes with unique aromatic qualities.
Photo: © www.naturadaunia.it
4. FAGIOLI DI SARCONI IGP
Beans have been grown for centuries in Basilicata in the Sarconi territories of Grumeto Nova, Marsiconuovo, as well as several others, but all in the province of Potenza. A typical product of Basilicata, the beans are strongly linked to the territory, where they benefit from plenty of water and summer temperatures. The sweet flavour is thanks to the climatic conditions which allows them to maintain a large concentration of simple sugars.
5. MELANZANE ROSSE DI ROTONDA
One of the most popular agricultural products of Basilicata: the orange colour makes these unusual fruits look more like a tomato, in some cases persimmon, but they are typical eggplant grown in the valleys of the Pollino National Park in four municipalities in the province of Potenza (Castelluccio, Lower and Upper, Rotonda and Viaggianello).
6. CHILLI SENISE IGP
The Senise chilli is produced in the area of Chiaromonte, Senise, Noepoli, San Giorgio Lucano and other neighboring municipalities. Small, pointed and hook shaped, the pepper has a notoriously sweet taste and is eaten dried, using traditional and natural methods or through indirect exposure to sunlight.
7. Matera Bread
One of the most beloved of Italian breads, Matera is baked using only durum wheat and has a characteristic dark brown crust and a pale yellow crumb. The bread also keeps well, making it a firm family favourite.
8. SAUSAGE LUCANICA OF CANCELLARA
A typical speciality of Lucano, also quoted from the ancient Roman gastronome Marcus Gavius Apicius in his De Re Coquinaria, the first collection of recipes on behalf of Apicius. Lucanica is a type of pork sausage with a fine, elongated shape. That of Cancellara, in particular, is produced in the mountain regions of the High Bradano with pork sourced exclusively from pigs reared in the territory.
9. La Pezzenta
The Pezzenta is called the "sausage of the poor" because it is produced using the poorer cuts of pork, veal and lamb, all united by wild fennel, spices and chilli. It is identified by its distinctive wine–red and orange colour.
Photo: © Buonissimo.org
10. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE VULTURE
A European protected olive oil produced in the province of Potenza with a distinctive amber–yellow colour, and a strong fruity smell, reminiscent of tomatoes.