Although Molise is geographically in central Italy, its culinary tradition is very much part of the south, using lots of pasta, chilli, and garlic with copious amounts of olive oil and fresh vegetables.
It shares a similar terrain to Marche in the north, with a long Adriatic coast and plain leading up to a more mountainous inland, and this has naturally led to a diverse cuisine. As you'd expect, seafood is dominant on the coast, with fish stews common everywhere, and deep fried squid reputedly among the finest in the country. Grilled fish such as anchovies and sardines are common, but the ubiquitous spiking with chilli makes Molise's seafood cooking stand out from its more northerly coastal neighbours.
In the mountains, meat is more popular, with lamb especially being used to make rich meat sauces for serving with pasta, although pork is also widely used, and wild mushrooms and truffles are common. The local pasta is recognised as being of superior quality thanks to the hardness of the local wheat variety, and it's common to serve it with a simple sauce of green vegetable leaves, garlic, oil, and of course a touch of chilli.
The Molise fondness for lamb means there's also a wide variety of sheep's milk cheeses - pecorino, ricotta, mozzarella, caciocavallo and more are all made throughout the region. Montepulciano is a common grape grown in the terraced foothills of the Appennines, and two Molise wines stand out: Biferno DOC and Pentro d'Isernia. The Molise Montepulciano doesn't have the worldwide reputation of close cousin Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, but the locals will doubtless say that the best Molise wine is kept back for their own consumption!