Guest Foodie: Olivio in Calabria

With this post I’m inaugurating an occasional series of guest foodies blogging from around Italy.

I’m in Marina di Zambrone, near Tropea in Calabria on what is known as Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods), seated in a restaurant called La Giara, more or less at the same table where I sat 11 years ago and like then I order the house specialty: fileja con ’nduja di Spilinga. Fileja is a long local pasta and ’nduja is a soft pork sausage/salami made with sweet bell peppers, red hot chili peppers, oil and lots of spices.

While the rest of the menu at La Giara is nothing special, this dish makes any visit here worthwhile. If you can’t make it to this part of Calabria, your next best option is to try and assemble the ingredients and cook up a plate of this pasta, and if possible have it while looking out at the sea. For the perfect Calabrian meal, you could follow the pasta up with raw Tropea red onions and a plate of anchovies, and serve it with a bottle of white Cirò.

The coast around Tropea is beautiful and if better promoted, or perhaps promoted at all, it would surely attract many more tourists. The sea is crystal clear and on par with what you find in Sardinia. One problem for those in search of tranquility: almost every beach is populated with performers and karaoke machines where people do horrible renditions of Italian favorites. I have had to resort to ear plugs, but when I dig into the local food products, of which I also recommend the capicollo, everything else melts away.

Olivio Romanini (Bologna-based journalist for Corriere della Sera)

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5 thoughts on “Guest Foodie: Olivio in Calabria

  1. ‘Nduja is hands-down one of my favorite things, ever. Actually, I first tasted it in Bologna, of all places, but bought a rather large one from a Calabrese vendor in Milan last year. It keeps well, too, which is probably the whole point of it.

    I think I’d walk to Calabria just to have some. Eric, are you up for that?

    • Definitely sign me up for the walk to Calabria, but for starters how about you help me track down this Calabrese vendor in Milan? With that in hand we’ll be well on our way to gathering the raw materials needed to make Olivio’s pasta dish.

    • nancy – Thank you so much for sharing this recpie and all of your fabulous photos! I am Sicilian and I love to see how other families celebrate. Our family never made these but I have had them at weddings. I am excited to try them. I wish I had a plateful now!

  2. Nduja is hands-down one of my favorite tgnhis, ever. Actually, I first tasted it in Bologna, of all places, but bought a rather large one from a Calabrese vendor in Milan last year. It keeps well, too, which is probably the whole point of it. I think I’d walk to Calabria just to have some. Eric, are you up for that?

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