The customs of Campania reign in the kitchen, with mouthwatering dishes and ingredients you can indulge in during your trip to Italy.
The region’s gastronomic heritage has influenced the concept of “Italian cuisine” around the world, with cultural values that date back to ancient Greek settlements and Etruscan villages. The culinary experience embodies the evolution of distinct cultural cuisines established in the arid mountains, lush plains, abundant sunlight, and vibrant Tyrrhenian Sea.
No matter where you are in Campania, you can enjoy how humble ingredients burst with powerful tastes.
The traditional pizza margherita consists of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil over basil leaves that top a typical wheat dough. The dish is famous in Campania, throughout Italy, and around the world. The original pizza margherita is now an international symbol of Italian cuisine, but was first invented in the 19th century, in honor of Queen Margherita of Savoy’s visit to a Neapolitan restaurant. You can enjoy traditional pizza margherita during your trip and even taste the original recipe in the restaurant that created this synonymous Italian dish.
Buffalo mozzarella is a famous cheese made from buffalo milk. Traditional buffalo mozzarella is best eaten fresh to enjoy the milky aroma and mild, floral flavor that’s accentuated by the smooth texture. The cheese has gained the status of Denominazione di Origine Protetta, which protects its exquisite quality and ensures that cultivation, production, and distribution take place in specially designated areas. You can find the semi-soft and elastic quality that helps make it round, braided, knotted, or formed into small balls, known as bocconcini.
The caprese salad is a staple of Campania cuisine, reflecting the delicate ingredients and simple recipes that account for its profound flavors. The tradition of cucina povera in Campania has brought to the fore the popular, refreshing salad, which is made with tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and buffalo mozzarella. The dish is common around the plains and along the seaside streets of Naples. The ingredients provide essential nutrients and an explosion of simple flavors, enhanced by the region’s volcanic soils.
Spaghetti with clams is a classic Campania dish represented in the use of simple ingredients with fresh flavors. The delicious dish highlights the beauty of simplicity, while also representing the rustic gastronomic traditions of less is more to emphasize each ingredient. Spaghetti con Vongole is popular on the Amalfi Coast, the islands of Capri and Ischia, as well as around the elongated Campania coastline. White wine or tomatoes can be added to the dish and you can explore the variety of preparation across the region.
The classic rice dish of Campania highlights the stunning seafood of the coastal areas in the popular city of Naples and the charming towns of the Amalfi Coast. While risotto is associated more with northern Italy, Risotto alla Pescatore blends the richness of the rice base with the refreshing briny flavors of the sea. The name reflects the nature of the dish, which when translated means “fisherman’s risotto”. The rice soaks up the broth, which is made from boiling seafood shells and adds an extra layer of flavor.
The black truffle of Bagnoli Irpino has the unique characteristics of an intense earthy aroma with a robust, savory flavor. The truffle grows in the natural woodland undergrowth of the Terminio Cervialto mountains in Campania, as well as in the altitudes of High Caserta and Benevento. The truffles grow between October and January. Hunters search for them using dogs and harvest the truffles by hand. The best way to sample a Bagnoli Irpino truffle is raw, by shaving the black fungus onto white meats, eggs, or sprinkling pieces onto cheeses.
Neapolitan sauce is a traditional tomato-based sauce that became common in Campania cuisine by the end of the 19th century. In Naples, the sauce is typically referred to as “salsa” and made from tomato, oregano, garlic, and olive oil. The sauce is best known as the legacy of Italian cuisine due to millions of Italian emigrants between the 19th and 20th centuries. It is vegetarian in origin.
Campania is home to many of the dishes people often associate with Italian food. The sunlight, plains, and coastline bring the Mediterranean dream to life. Whether looking for breathtaking beaches or decadent palaces, Arabesque streets or ancient ruins, you can find how the best cities for Campania cuisine capture the heritage of the region. For more helpful information, Zicasso’s Italy Travel Guide can provide great insight for an overall Italy trip. Ready to enjoy your Italian food tour? Speak with an Italy travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.