The cuisine of Campania offers a sun-kissed region of Southern Italy famous for hosting the gorgeous shoreline, preserved Roman ruins, and fuming craters that impact the signature cuisine you can taste during your Italy trip.
Campania maintains a strong connection to culinary traditions, the microclimates, and locally sourced ingredients from coastal mountains to charming bays and the fruitful inland plains. From delightful cheeses to a simple combination of ingredients, the flavors create mouthwatering dishes that showcase the heritage of private kitchens and the evolution of chefs’ culinary aesthetics.
When you discover where you can try the most enticing regional dishes during your trip to Italy, you can embrace tradition, taste, and culture as you explore Campania.
The famous Mozzarella di Bufala of Campania is traditional cheese made from the milk of buffaloes grazing on open pastures of Campania. The exquisite cheese has a creamy taste and springy texture. The traditional cheese has DOP status defending its authentic flavor, divine texture, and overall quality with the marker referring to the Protected Designation of Origin or Denominazione d’Origine Protetta. Experts recommend letting the cheese rest outside of the fridge for at least half an hour for the ultimate taste. As you explore Campania, try the variety of Buffalo Mozzarella served at modest cafés and luxe restaurants alike.
For many visitors to Campania, the pizza is enough of a reason to visit with the capital Naples gaining the legendary title of the “Birthplace of Pizza.” The myth of Pizza Margherita begins at a small restaurant in Naples that sought to honor the queen of Italy in 1889. The combination of red tomato sauce, green basil, and white mozzarella cheese was meant to imitate the Italian flag. Pizza has become one of the most popular foods in the world, and while the invention of Pizza Margherita is relatively new, historical evidence shows similar dishes have a far reach in Mediterranean history. A Pizza Margherita from Naples is unlike any other pizza you have tried.
The most famous pastry of Campania is the sfogliatella, the oldest documented dessert of the region dating back to the 17th century. Nuns invented the flaky, cream-filled confection in the Santa Rosa convent in the town of Conca dei Marini on the Amalfi Coast. By the 19th century, chef Pasquale Pintauro acquired the original recipe and sold the desirable pastries in his private bakery. Pastry aficionados prefer to bite into sfogliatella when it’s warm from the oven, and the crunchy exterior of layered puff pastry gives way to a creamy, mildly sweet interior of cream; however, pastry chefs can also use chocolate.
Baba au Rhum looks simple but is a deceptively complex combination of layered flavors focused on a yeast-leavened cake soaked in simple syrup mixed with rum. The delicious dessert is one of the confectionary symbols of Naples and greater Campania. The shimmering pastry can also contain a fruit filling, whipped cream, Nutella, or ricotta. The labor-intensive dessert requires pastry chefs to watch the dough carefully and also dry the finished product from all moisture before soaking the pastry. A number of chefs have experimented with immersing the Babà in popular flavored spirits like locally-made limoncello.
Torta Caprese is a flourless chocolate cake typical of the island of Capri dating back to the 1920s. The stunning cake with a rich, soft interior and crunchy exterior became the pride of an island renowned for its indelible charm. The traditional Torta Caprese is made with dark chocolate and almonds for a delicious flavor combination balancing bitter and sweet. Many pastry chefs correlate the perfection of the chocolate cake with the stimulating texture and flavor of a truffle. The cake has become so popular over the years that it has risen to iconic status on par with other Campanian pastries like Sfogliatelle and Babà.
This fruity dessert highlights the radiant flavors of the local produce grown around the Campania region, most notably in The Sorrento province. A pastry chef from Sorrento invented the dessert in the 1970s using sponge cake soaked in limoncello simple syrup and topped with lemon cream. The tantalizing dessert is often topped with a fresh strawberry. Delizia al Limone combines rich flavors, vibrant colors, and a variety of textures for an intoxicating dessert bursting with sharpness and tang served mainly during special occasions such as weddings and is perfect for dessert-lovers who prefer lively fruity flavors over decadent chocolatey treats.
Those with a yearning for an authentic Pizza Margherita from Naples or a delicious spongy and tangy lemon dessert native to the Sorrento province will be thrilled to tour Italy’s Campania region. Visit our Italy Vacation Page to browse a range of tailored tours that will take you through the charms of Italy to enchanting restaurants and exquisite eateries. Ready for a taste tour of Italy? Get advice and helpful travel tips from our tour specialists by filling out a Trip Request or contacting us on 1-888-265-9707.