What to eat in Campania region?
Updated: May 30
The cuisine of the Campania region boasts many dishes with ancient and world-famous traditions, also recognized as a UNESCO heritage site. Although there are many dishes you could enjoy during your trip to this region, we will try to introduce you to some of them. If you would like to discover even more of its varied cuisine, we recommend following @italyfoodprnnapoli, but make sure you've already eaten, otherwise, you'll get hungry!
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Certainly, one of the symbols is the pizza, created to honor the Queen of Italy Margherita di Savoia, which consists of a dough of flour, water, and yeast. As we know, it can be eaten in many ways, the original being with tomato, mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and basil. Its tradition is now a UNESCO intangible heritage. The most famous places to taste it in Naples are Da Michele, Sorbillo, and Starita pizzerias which are defined as historical.
Mozzarella di Bufala
Mozzarella di bufala campana owes its taste to the buffalo milk used in its preparation. Its name derives from the verb mozzare, which indicates the operation with which the cheesemakers mozzano (cut) the dough. It is prepared in different shapes that take different names: “Perline”, “Ciliegini”, 'Bocconcini', “Treccia”, “Nodini” and then there is the smoked one where the cheese is exposed to smoke giving it a stronger flavor. If you want to taste the most famous mozzarella in the region, we recommend the so-called “Zizzona” of Battipaglia, a town in the province of Salerno.
Pasta allo scarpariello
The famous dish of spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, basil, and cheese that you will have seen in any representation of Italian cuisine is none other than pasta allo scarpariello. So-called because it is thought to have originated with the scarpari (shoemakers) as it was prepared with simple and inexpensive ingredients. At the end of a meal, Italians are used to making the famous 'Scarpetta', the act of scooping up the sauce left on the plate by passing a piece of bread over it. Even if etiquette does not allow it, no one can refuse to do so.
Pasta con ragù Napoletano
In dialect, raaù is a pasta sauce prepared with beef. But in many cases, it is prepared using a mixture of beef and pork, the most commonly used pieces of meat being pork chops (called tracchie), sausage, rind roll (called cotica), meatball, and chop. The pasta used is mainly paccheri, maccheroni, ziti and ziti. if you like this type of pasta with a beef-based sauce, you can also try the Genovese sauce prepared over low heat with onions. Don't be fooled by the name, which comes from the Genoese who arrived in Naples on board.
Pasta patate e provola
With a stringy heart, dense, and well blended this pasta dish, which must be strictly mixed pasta, is made up of potatoes and Provola cheese which makes it soft and super tasty. Prepared with a sauté of onion, carrot, celery, and cherry tomatoes, when the dish is ready there are those who delight in amalgamating it in the wheel of Parmesan cheese. A real spectacle!
Prepared during the Easter holidays, this savory bread is filled with cheese, salami, cracklings, and eggs and shaped like a golden doughnut, that is supposed to represent Jesus' crown of thorns.
Frittata di pasta
Considered to be the most popular takeaway dish in the regions, it has two simple ingredients: eggs and pasta which are cooked again in a pan with the addition of eggs and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Generally, the type of pasta used is spaghetti or macaroni. The result is a compact, tasty dish that is easy to take with you. So why not make it the star of your palate during your visit.
Zucchine alla scapece
One of the most typical side dishes of Campania cuisine consists of fried round courgettes seasoned with garlic, vinegar, and a few mint leaves. Some say its name comes from the Spanish for products that are marinated in vinegar (escabeche). Ideal to accompany both fish and meat dishes.
A true symbol of the region's cuisine, particularly in Naples, this mushroom-shaped oven-baked cake is made with flour, brewer's yeast, eggs, sugar, and butter and then soaked in rum when cooked. It seems that its origin derives from a Polish recipe that arrived in Naples through French chefs. However, skilled pastry chefs from Campania were able to greatly improve the dough, making it softer and giving it the famous mushroom shape. Today, many variations can be tasted: filled with cream and strawberries, cream, Nutella, pistachio, and much more. A famous quote that recalls this cake is "si 'a vita amara se fa, si addolcisce cu nu babà!", (if life is bitter, you can sweeten it with a baba)
First of all, you should know that there are two varieties of this cake: the Sfogliatella Santa Rosa whose origin is in the convent of Santa Rosa on the Amalfi Coast (Salerno) where the filling consists of cream, Chantilly cream, or chocolate cream with sour cherries on top; the sfogliatella riccia linked to the Neapolitan tradition has a filling of ricotta and candied fruit. Both golden, crispy, and delicious, they retain the shell shape of the Santarosa. If you're in Naples, you'll notice that the pastry shops have another type of cake called Sfogliatella Frolla, which has the same filling as the Riccia one but with a different shape and dough, preferring shortcrust pastry to puff pastry.
A favorite on Easter tables, this cake is a shortcrust pastry with a soft filling of wheat, ricotta, candied fruit, and orange blossom essence. Many anecdotes are linked to this cake, but the most famous is the legend of the Siren Partenope who was given seven gifts for choosing the Bay of Naples, which were the ingredients for the Pastiera. Today you can find it in all pastry shops all year round.
Zeppole di San Giuseppe
Soft, creamy, mouth-watering, and fragrant, the zeppole di San Giuseppe is a kind of sweet doughnut made of choux pastry prepared with flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and olive oil. They are fried and then filled with custard, an addition of icing sugar, and black cherries in syrup for decoration on top. A variant is also baked, where the dough is not fried in oil. However, the process differs from simple Graffe (whose dough also includes potatoes for greater softness). Both are delicious and can be found in any bakery, so why not enjoy them with a good coffee!
Fiocco di neve
Super tasty, sweet treat consisting of a brioche pastry filled with milk cream and covered with icing sugar. If you want to taste the original, you have to try it at Pasticceria Poppella, the creator of this soft, white, and velvety morsel like a snowflake, from which it gets its name.
Born on the island of Capri, hence the name Caprese is prepared with dark chocolate, almonds, hazelnuts, and cocoa. Its heart is very soft to simulate the melting of chocolate and covered with a crust that makes it crunchy and perfectly complements the dried fruit used.
Scazzetta del Cardinale
A typical Salerno dessert, the Scazzetta represents the headdress that cardinals received from the Pope. Sponge cake, cream, wild strawberries, and red icing covers it. This delicacy is a recipe from the Pantaleone pastry shop, which you can still find today in the city's historic center.
Coffee was introduced in Naples by Maria Carolina of Habsburg-Lorraine and has remained an almost sacred tradition ever since. The real secret lies in the blend and its particular roasting, which gives it a darker color and stronger flavor. Gran Caffé Gambrinus is the most historical place in Naples where you can enjoy a good coffee, today it retains its charm with elegant furnishings.
The region of Campania also stands out for its tasty and fragrant liqueurs. Limoncello is undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular liqueurs in Campania, linked to the lemons of the Amalfi coast. Also very famous is the Cremoncello (lemon cream liqueur), much thicker and lemon-flavored. But also, others take their places such as concerto liqueur, Annurca apple liqueur, and Nanassino.
The Campania region, like most of the regions of the Italian peninsula, is also characterized by famous and valuable red wines such as Aglianico, Taurasi, Falerno del Massico and white wines such as Falanghina, Greco di Tufo, Fiano, Lacryma Christi, Coda di Volpe.
We hope that you enjoyed this article, don't hesitate to like and share it. Discover our article about visiting Naples, but also the one about visiting Amalfi Coast, both in Campania region. Follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot to be alerted when a new article is published! And don't forget to check the Instagram account @italyfoodprnnapoli for even more Neapolitan cuisine!