Italy is a country known worldwide for its food and wine tradition. At any time of the year you can enjoy unique and special dishes, each from different regions that, through the kitchen, express their true essence.
When autumn comes and the streets turn yellow, brown and orange, even the tables of Italians take inspiration and are filled with warm and enveloping dishes, able to give the right energy to face the change of season.
As in northern Italy and central Italy, also in southern Italy and in the islands it is possible to fully experience autumn thanks to culinary delicacies, which are transformed into real life experiences if accompanied by the best local wines.
Our gastronomic tour of Italian autumn dishes continues in Abruzzo, whose cuisine has its roots in the peasant tradition, simple and genuine, to offer:
- the arrosticini, grilled sheep meat skewers, among the best street food in southern Italy;
- sagne e fasciul, a sort of maltagliati prepared with water and flour to be seasoned with beans for an autumn soup simply delicious.
Both can be accompanied with fine wines from Abruzzo, such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Rosso DOC, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC and Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC.
Let’s leave Abruzzo and go to Basilicata, a land as varied as heterogeneous, which with its Matera catches the attention of thousands of tourists every year. In autumn it offers a delicious dish, that is the crapiata materana: it is a typical soup of Matera prepared just to celebrate the harvest, so much so that it combines different legumes (cicerchie, broad beans, beans, peas and chickpeas) with potatoes, wheat and tomatoes.
This succulent soup becomes irresistible when accompanied by an excellent wine of Aglianico, Montepulciano, Moscato, Malvasia, Asprinio Lucano, Sangiovese, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trebbiano and Greco.
Passing from Basilicata to Calabria is a moment: here the peasant tradition is extremely evident in every typical dish, so rich in aromas and unmistakable flavors to take your breath away. In autumn it is practically obligatory to taste:
- morzell, a sandwich filled with spicy sauce, tripe and offal, ideal for those who need to recover energy;
- the Calabrian ragout, whose traditional recipe includes bread soaked in milk, white wine, laurel, various parts of meat, sauce and slow cooking;
- cuccìa, a boiled wheat soup that can be accompanied by legumes or goat meat, pork, chestnuts or cereals and seasoned with various spices;
- the turdills, simple biscuits made from flour, sugar, oil and red wine, served especially during the Christmas holidays.
Calabria, then, is also known for its wine proposals, very appreciated both locally and internationally; among the DOC are Bivongi, Cirò, Greco di Bianco, Lamezia, Melissa, Sant’Anna di Isola Capo Rizzuto, Savuto, Scavigna and Terre di Cosenza, while among the IGT include Arghillà, Costa Viola, Lipuda, Locride, Palizzi, Pellaro, Scilla, Val di Neto and Valdamato.
We finally arrive in Campania, a region characterized by an extremely varied territory that ranges from the sea to the mountains and a people strongly welcoming and sunny. What to eat here in the autumn season? Here are the unmissable dishes:
- gnocchi alla sorrentina, based on potatoes, water and flour and seasoned with tomato sauce, fiordilatte, parmesan and basil;
- cannelloni alla napoletana, another Neapolitan specialty, stuffed with mozzarella, hard-boiled eggs, Parmesan and ragout made with beef and pork, onions, tomato sauce and red wine.
And what better way to enjoy these first courses, if not accompanied by good local wine? The first choices include Vesuvius (and Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio), Falanghina dei Campi Flegrei, Ischia and Capri.
Among the regions of southern Italy unjustifiably underestimated but, at the same time, more rich in hidden treasures here we are in Molise, whose territory offers ingredients of the highest quality with which to create truly incredible dishes.
Typical of the autumn period are the cicerchie, among the oldest legumes and richest in proteins that, after a long soaking in warm and salty water, are boiled for a couple of hours and seasoned with oil and aromatic herbs. Alternatively, you can create soups and purees to enjoy with a glass of Biferno, Molise, Pentro or Tintilia.
Summer destination par excellence, Puglia is among the most beautiful Italian regions of the year: among the golden beaches, the crystal clear sea and the historical-cultural heritage, it is the ideal place to spend an ideal holiday for anyone. In autumn, then, you have the opportunity to taste the gnummareddi, rolls of lamb or kid, cooked on the grill or stewed, to be enjoyed with a glass of red wine such as Gioia del Colle DOC, made with primitivo.
At the end of the peninsula, we pass to the two major islands: Sardinia and Sicily. Of both are famous beaches, perfect for a summer stay of relaxation and tan, but it is their hinterland that hides the heart of tradition and hospitality island. It is from here, in fact, that especially in Sardinia derive the raw materials with which are made delicious typical dishes. In particular, among the autumn ones stand out:
- Gallurese soup, also called cuata soup, which however has very little soup: despite the use of meat broth to prepare it, in reality the final dish is not liquid, but consists of layers of bread seasoned with cheese and sheep stock and then baked in the oven;
- Sardinian lamb with artichokes, a traditional Sardinian dish, which involves browning the meat before cooking it together with artichokes.
Both autumn dishes can be accompanied by a glass of good Sardinian wine, to be chosen between Cannonau, Carignano, Bovale, Monica, Cagnulari, Vermentino and Moscato.
The end of the autumn gastronomic tour ends in the beautiful Sicily, the most colorful and folkloristic of the Italian regions, renowned throughout the world for its artistic and scenic beauty, as well as for its culinary tradition. And in the fall they certainly can not miss:
- crispelle c’angiova, or with fresh ricotta (or both), prepared with flour and yeast and then stuffed with, precisely, anchovies or ricotta before being fried in pots full of oil;
- the pasta ncasciata, typical of the city of Messina, based on meat sauce, boiled eggs, eggplant and cheese in quantity.
- the fried cod, the preparation of which requires that the fish is soaked before being cooked, so as to soften and lose the excess salt; then it is mixed with dried tomatoes and fresh onion, then be immersed in the batter and finally fried.
Of course, even in Sicily there is no shortage of typical wines, of those that are good on any occasion! Among the reds it is good to remember Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese and Frappato, while among the whites the unmissable are Catarratto, Grillo, Inzolia, Grecanico, Malvasia delle Lipari and Muscat of Alexandria.
This is the end of our gastronomic journey in Italian autumn cuisine. If you have the time do not miss the opportunity to get to know this other side of Italy, with less tourists and more calm you will discover that the Italian autumn offers places, people and unforgettable flavors.