A journey through Calabria is truly a culinary journey of discovery, for the "cucina calabrese" is extremely varied. From hearty home cooking in the mountain regions to light Mediterranean cuisine in the coastal regions, there is something for everyone!

Red onions & spicy peperoncini

But Calabrian cuisine is also rich in vegetables, pulses and cereals: delicious vegetable ragout, grilled aubergines and fried courgette blossoms are often served here. And of course, the popular peperoncino and red onion are often the protagonists in Calabrian dishes!

The tasty red onion has been an integral part of the menu in many parts of the region – and has been since ancient times! It was not yet known that the original “cipolla rossa di Tropea” was full of vitamins and trace elements, but people were aware of its valuable properties. The tuber is said to have been introduced into the coastal region by the Phoenicians about 2,000 years ago.

The hot red peperoncino gives many dishes the decisive spice – whether fresh, dried or pickled. The pod probably came to Calabria at the beginning of the 15th century as a result of Christopher Columbus’ voyages of discovery, who brought it to Europe from Central and South America. In the village of Diamante, the annual Peperoncino Festival is held in September, dedicated to the spicy pod!

The bergamot and lemon from Calabria

Calabria also produces two very special citrus fruits: the rare bergamot and lemon. Some delicacies are prepared from them, although the bitter-sour fruits are not suitable for consumption. The precious bergamot oil gives Earl Grey tea its typical taste and is also used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. 

The fruits of lemon are used for the production of confectionery, various sweets, liqueurs, olive oil, ice cream and much more. A popular summer drink is the “cedrata”, of course with the extract of the cedar lemon!

A delicious meal in Calabria always includes a good wine and in a restaurant the question of “vino sfuso” (the house wine) is always appropriate! Wine growing has a long tradition here and the Greeks already called southern Italy “Enotria”, the land of wine. It is produced by the winegrowers as well as by many Calabriern for domestic use or tasting in their own restaurant.

Along the coastline you will find vineyards almost everywhere, but also in the higher altitudes up to 800 m height. In Ciro Marina, for example, the Cirò DOC red wine is made from Gaglioppo grapes, popular for its delicate bouquet. The Val di Neto also offers ideal conditions for viticulture with around 300 sunny days a year! Here the excellent white wine Efeso is made from Mantonico grapes.

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Enjoy the delicacies of the Southern Italian region on a custom-made group tour or team event in Calabria! We are looking forward to your no-obligation request via our contact form, email or phone +49 611 945879-42!

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