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THE GREAT ITALIAN (FOOD) ROAD TRIP

Has all the talk of Italy’s regional cuisine in this issue got you itching to jump on a plane and try the real thing? Sarah Lane offers a greedy traveller’s guide to what’s best where, from the Med to the Alps. Plus we have a couple of ready-made suggestions for a dreamy escape, tried and tested so you know they’re up to scratch

hungry traveller.

Sunset dining at Al Trabucco da Mimi, Puglia

THE SOUTH: ABUNDANT INGREDIENTS AND POWERFUL FLAVOURS

The warm Mediterranean climate fuels an abundance of ripe, sun-drenched fruit and vegetables. Sicily, home to Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna, benefits from particularly fertile terrain. The effects can be tasted in the intense flavour of the emerald-green bronte pistachios that are a favourite ingredient of the island’s exuberant desserts and gelato (see overleaf), and the local volcanic wines have made a name for themselves in recent years.

The strong flavours of the south are complemented by a generous use of herbs and spices. Each year, the seaside town of Diamante in Calabria hosts an international chilli festival (peperoncinofestival.org; 6-10 September in 2017) complete with a chilli-eating competition. Festival or no, chillies figure largely in Calabria. Pasta is rarely served without a pinch of chilli, and the spicy sausage-like paste ’nduja comes from this area.

Puglia is where the traditional cuisine reflects the ideals of the Mediterranean diet most closely, incorporating lots of pulses, fresh vegetables, fish and olive oil – with around 60 million olive trees, the region is Italy’s top producer of olive oil. One of Puglia’s highlights is the splendid stone-built baroque town of Lecce, where specialities include ciceri e tria (chickpeas and pasta with a little fried pasta on top).

The steep, rocky coastline of Puglia’s Gargano peninsula is peppered with trabucchi: curious fishing contraptions made of long wooden beams supporting vast nets. Several incorporate restaurants. The most atmospheric is Al Trabucco da Mim“ (left; altrabucco. it) where you can help Mimì winch the nets in and out of the sea. Enjoying a dinner of freshly caught seafood (about €80 for two) while the sun sets over the sea is idyllic.

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About Delicious Magazine

Mamma mia! July is delicious. magazine’s Italian issue and it’s packed with recipes from the world’s favourite cuisine. There are summer dishes from Eleonora Galasso, Giorgio Locatelli, Theo Randall, Gennaro Contaldo, Ursula Ferrigno, Sabrina Gidda and the godfather, Antonio Carluccio. Plus, there’s classic Tuscan food and a romantic menu from Venice as well as ‘nduja stuffed pork roast and three easy lasagnes. And don’t miss our cocktail-based desserts from Italian drinks – anyone for Limoncello drizzle cake or Negroni granita?
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