The Calabrian cuisine is a poor cuisine of peasant origin with numerous dishes strongly linked to religious celebrations: at Christmas and at Epiphany it was customary to put thirteen courses on the table, while at Carnival they eat macaroni, meatballs and pork. Easter is celebrated with roast lamb, cudduraci and spiritual breads and so on for other holidays. Every family life event (weddings, baptisms, etc.) is always celebrated  with a special dinner or lunch. A very important sauce is the spicy and excellent nduja for croutons. Stroncatura, typical pasta.
There are few dishes that can be found
in all the current 5 provinces, such as the ca muddica and alici pasta, the
eggplant parmigiana, the stockfish, which however have different preparations
in the various territories. The province of Reggio, and even more the city of
Reggio, differs from the others, especially from the Cosenza province which,
even geographically, is very distant.
In Calabria, preserved foods are very
important, such as salted anchovies, desalted and put under oil with chilli,
pork sausages (such as’ nduja and Calabrese soppressata), cheeses, pickled
vegetables and dried tomatoes, which allowed to survive in periods of famine,
as well as to the long periods of siege by Saracen pirates (them Turks).
Today in the cultivated areas excellent agricultural products are harvested, in the mountains many cheeses are produced and the viticulture is growing while the production of olives is maintained, albeit reduced. The Calabrian recipes make much use of vegetables, of which the territory is fertile: aubergines above all but also tomatoes, peppers, red onions, lettuces, broccoli and legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and broad beans.
A central role in the Calabrian cuisine
is occupied by bread, cared for in the preparation and in the ingredients
(important is the durum wheat) (special to the giugiulena) and by the
traditionally homemade pastas; the use of chilli peppers is also widespread,
more or less spicy, especially used in sauces and main courses.
Very common in the high Ionian area of Cosenza and in the Crotone area is a sauce of whitebait (small fish juveniles of the blue fish) and spicy red chili pepper that is called rosamarina. To be eaten spread on croutons during appetizers and aperitifs, it is also used to flavor sauces or fish recipes.
‘Nduja, the gold of Spilinga
The most famous of the Calabrese sausages, which is believed to originate from the town of Spilinga, in the Vibo Valentia province, is based on pork and chilli pepper: it has a soft consistency and is tasted spread on toasted bread or added to other recipes, for example with tomato sauce, to enhance its flavor.
Equally tasty are the other Calabrian delicatessen products, such as soppressata, capicollo and Calabrese sausage.
Single summer dish
Another typical dish of the Calabrian summer, inevitable in the out-of-town trips, are the stuffed eggplants: dug out of the pulp, which is kneaded with stale bread and eggs, the aubergines are filled with the just mentioned mixture, then fried in abundant oil of olive.
Many names, a pasta
The typical Calabrian pasta, a kind of fusillo obtained by wrapping a piece of dough around a knitting needle, changes its name as you move around the region, becoming fileja, scilatelli or maccheroni, without differing much in the bill and preparation . The traditional recipe wants it seasoned with tomato sauce with goat ragù, but it is much easier to find it prepared with classic meat sauce or simple tomato.
In the Reggio area, struncatura is widespread, a type of pasta similar to linguine made with flour and bran residues that remain after the milling of the wheat. The surface is particularly rough, a characteristic thanks to which this pasta holds the sauce very well. Traditionally, struncatura is served with a sauce made with anchovies, tomato sauce, toasted bread crumbs and capers.
Purple Coast Street Food
The stretch of sea that goes from Palmi to Reggio Calabria and takes the name of Costa Viola (apparently from the description that Plato made of it in the 4th century BC) is renowned for fishing and swordfish processing. In these areas it is possible to taste this grilled fish seasoned with salmoriglio (a sauce made of oil, garlic and parsley), but also stewed, with cherry tomatoes and capers, or as the main component of sandwiches, to eat on the street.
The licorice of Calabria
Licorice that is born in Calabria is called cru, which is the best in the world.
The root has been known for over 35 centuries, but it was not until the 1700s that the juice was taken from the root, giving rise to the thousand and one possible recipes we know today. It was the Duke of Corigliano who founded the first licorice factory in the province of Cosenza, in 1715, followed by the Amarelli family in 1731.