The Authentic Flavors of Campania Cuisine

 

Campania

Culinary traditions run deep in the region of Campania, Italy, as each generation honors their culture and preserves sacred stories through dishes shared around the table. Campania’s food is as rich in history as it is in flavor. This picturesque region is one of the most sought-after places to visit in Italy for its breathtaking landscape filled with an openhearted community and the most authentic food in the world. Beloved Italian staples originating in the abundant region of Campania, such as pastas, tomato sauces, olive oils, and cheeses, receive distinct characteristics from the mild climate, fertile volcanic soils and long-established techniques and traditions. These prime growing conditions give us the flavorful ingredients that come together to create Campania cuisine.

Iconic Italian Roots

Campania, one of the highest populated regions in Italy, hugs the Italian peninsula’s west coast, south of Rome, and includes popular destinations such as Naples, Pompei and the Amalfi coast. It’s lined with natural masterpieces that inspire all who visit, starting with the intense colors and sweet scents of the sea that wrap the charming bays, coves and cliffs. Throughout the region you’ll find unique scenery, gardens boasting citrusy aromas, scenic volcano backdrops, vast pasturelands and produce-rich vineyards. Each component plays a significant part in making the culture, practices and culinary traditions of Campania truly unforgettable.

The Most Prized Pasta in the World

Thanks to its mild climate and geography that includes the seaside, mountains and volcanic rock, Campania boasts one of the most vibrant and most varied cuisines in all of Italy. Pasta, is so cherished by Italians that many don’t feel complete without enjoying at least one plate of this tried-and-true delicacy each day. The small hilltop town of Gragnano, also known as “the city of pasta”, has been a pasta-making epicenter since the late 1800s when a group of Italian pioneers embarked on their journey to perfect the process of mass-producing air-dried pasta. The exceptional ingredients and careful production process make authentic Gragnano pasta stand out above the rest. 

San Marzano Tomatoes

One of the most highly prized crops in Italy is the juicy San Marzano tomato. First grown at the base of Mount Vesuvius, these harvests flourish due to the warm Campania sun, picture-perfect climate and proximity to the sea. Last but not least, as the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, more than 2,500 years ago, blanketed the surrounding territories with thick tephra deposits, or nutrient-rich volcanic ash, which greatly contribute to extraordinarily fertile soils, ideal for these luscious crops known as the finest tomatoes in the world. 

Classic Comforts of Campania Cuisine

Campania has a vibrant food scene expanding from the coast to the countryside. With exquisite shorelines, both sandy and rocky, captivating fishing villages and crystal-clear seas, the Amalfi Coast is arguably one of the most romantic coastlines in the world. Fishing was a mainstay during ancient Roman times, and modern Italian fishers continue to reel in everything from anchovies, sardines and squid to tuna, mackerel and octopus. These fresh catches are the succulent stars of Campania seafood classics such as scampi crudi (raw scampi), acqua pazza (poached seafood) and spaghetti alle vongole (clams and pasta).

Campania is also the birthplace of authentic pizza, one of its most remarkable specialties. Pizza, as we know it today, was invented in Naples, Italy, which remains the homeland and world capital of pizza. Several variations determine what constitutes an authentic Neapolitan pizza; one popular version is the Margherita pizza. Genuine Neapolitan Margherita pizza features hand-stretched dough made with highly refined Italian type 0 or 00 wheat flour, fresh brewer’s yeast, water and salt and is then topped with simple, yet sophisticated ingredients including San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.