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Shopping in ScaleaCooking in Southern Italy begins with wonderfully fresh ingredients which are available on street corners every morning of the week.  Olives?  Berries?  Pomodori?  Basilico?  You want it?  You got it. I have a pretty good sense of flavors but I have the American affliction of “More is Better”.

Melanzana in Scalea

Add fresh veges to potatos…

So Many of the dishes here in Calabria are simple yet brimming with flavor.

Drying peppers in Southern Italy

Hanging out peppers is as common as hanging out the wash.

When I was walking in Diamante a woman stood beneath all of the balconies of drying peppers.

She was standing in her doorway slicing a small melanzana with a large knife. I looked interested and she invited me in.  She diced the unpeeled eggplant and placed it in hot oil until it browned.

Cooking in DiamanteNext to the skillet she had a smaller pan with a small bit of fresh tomato cooking down.  “Only a little,” she  indicated.  A little garlic may have been added to the oil for flavor.

Just skim the small pieces of eggplant from the oil and place them in the pomodoro.  Add oregano or basil.  Ecco!

Eggplant and Chicken in Italy.

Add a bit of basil to the top and it’s ready!

A fellow shopper at market showed me the best


A man in Verbicaro wants to share his zucchini seeds so they can grow in America.

eggplant to buy and shared instructions for what I would call eggplant parmesan.  Not so complicated as my recipe books and delicious with added zucchini, fresh tomates, buffalo mozzarella and a bit of pecorino.

I am so in love with the ingredients available in Calabria that I have to add some photos below.  The richness of color, texture and flavor is enough to create fine dining without trying.

Add Media Still, it’s hard to equal the cuisine of the local trattorias. The traditional antipasti are rich in contrasts and flavors. And they are so abundant that it is hard to save room for the next course.

But we must have pasta. There is no describing the satisfying texture of the pasta here.  From the homemade spaetzl served by our neighbor to the pappardelle in the local taverna, it can’t be equalled.  On the very last morning, after having stuffed our bags with fusilli to take home, our loving landlady interrupted our packing for a lesson. We were given instructions and the proper tools to recreate this at home.

Making Fusilli

Here’s hoping!