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WINE AND FOOD HOLIDAYS IN BASILICATA: TOUR AND SPECIALTIES

BASILICATA: FOOD AND WINE FROM THE DEEP SOUTH OF ITALIY

Ostuni città bianca

Basilicata in the far south of Italy is one of the country's most undeveloped areas, and is still relatively isolated.

The area's cuisine reflects this by using almost exclusively local ingredients cooked simply but inventively, to produce delicious food that wastes nothing. Typical of this approach to food is the pezzanta salami that's unique to Basilicata, which combines various unfashionable varieties of pig offal flavoured with fennel, garlic and chilli.

For less adventurous palates, the soppressata sausage uses similar spicings but with more usual cuts of pork. Wheat is widely grown, and the breads of Matera are famed countrywide, as are the Basilicatan speciality taralli and lingue biscuits. Another wheat product worth trying is strascinati, which unusually for a pasta is enriched with pork fat in much the same way that northern pasta uses eggs.

The pasta is often served with a rich ragu of pork, lamb, or wild game from the Pollino Mountains. Peppers of all kinds feature strongly in Basilicata cooking, from sweet bell peppers to fiery chillis which are sun dried and crushed to make the hot flakes which are added to almost every dish.

There isn't a great deal of well known wine produced in Basilicata, although one variety that's made its way to a wider audience is the excellent Agliano del Vulture DOC, a full bodied and rich red produced on the fertile slopes of the extinct volcano Monte Vulture, and this is also available aged in oak barrels when it is then known as Canneto. Both are worth seeking out for any wine lover visiting Basilicata.

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