The taste of Abruzzo, Italy

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Yes we have been to Abruzzo in Italy again! Last year we already did a food tour and visited several restaurants. This year we visited local suppliers of products from this authentic Italian region.

We stayed again with John and Ilona from B&B Casa La Farfalla Bianca . This place is all peace and quiet and really an idyllic picture with a self-created garden, chickens, goat, kittens and vegetable garden. The rooms also look very attractive with authentic elements and yet equipped with all luxurious amenities. Over the past year, John and Ilona Abruzzo have discovered even more, getting to know new places, food and people in the process.

Also Francesco from Pizzaria FraGranze in Orsogne. This purebred Italian only thinks and talks about food. For his restaurant, which he opened 2 years ago, he went through a long search for the best regional products for his dishes. From fresh ricotta to olive oil and flour for his pizzas. So who better to guide us through Abruzzo than Francesco and his wife Alessia who occasionally supplemented it with English vocabulary.

Cheese please!
The next day, after a delicious fresh breakfast, there was a visit to cheese factory Caseificio San Giovanni. . . This cheese factory was high in the mountains so after more than 1 hour of driving and enjoying the view we arrived. All the milk that is supplied is from sheep, cows and goats that graze in the mountains, so it is easily accessible for farmers. We were given a nice blue hat, jacket and shoes that made me feel like a real smurf haha. Danielle, the third generation of this family business, gave us a tour. She said that new fresh milk is delivered every day and that they make mozzarella from it in 7 hours. They also make ricotta, pecorino or aged cheeses that ripen in the caves in the mountains. And with fresh truffle! Of course there had to be tasted, hmm! The cheese is very soft and creamy in taste.

Sausage and salami
In the afternoon we drove towards the coast to Pescara where the tastiest sausages and salami are made. We walked into a small shop and got an explanation about the family business Marzari and how the sausages are made. Fortunately no bloody scenes, only a cold store full of fresh sausages. Their specialty is a kind of creamy pâté, let that be something I don’t like. But luckily I liked this Italian variant. We also got fresh carpaccio, salami and Parma ham. Really top product! Unfortunately, the visit to the farm where the pigs come from was canceled due to an unexpected inspection.Because of this we were back a little earlier and I still had time to cook a delicious pasta for John and Ilona with fresh products from their vegetable garden.

Herbs from the mountain
On Friday, after a bowl of farmer’s yogurt with muesli and fruit and a croissant, we left for a nice place near them where Francesco’s grandparents used to live. It’s an old ruin but perfect for a photo shoot. Then we go to a factory where the spice mixes that can be found in almost all kitchens in Abruzzo are made, namely Fior di Maella. In Dutch this means flower of mountain Maella because the factory is located at the foot of this mountain. Fresh products and herbs are dried in the factory, which are then mixed in a machine and placed in jars. There are 5 different flavors for fish, meat, potatoes and pasta. They also produce other products such as risotto and polenta with herbs. It is also a family business that is passed down from generation to generation. Together with one of these generations, we will also visit the land next to the factory where tomatoes and peppers are grown, among other things. The funny thing is that these peppers are not spicy and grow upwards. We conclude the visit with a well-filled goodie bag.

We drove on to another place that at first seemed just a house, but at the back has a small business where honey is processed. In the Netherlands, for example, bees are often kept in the same place where the honey is harvested, but here in Abruzzo the bees live in different places in the mountains. Every day this beekeeper from Apicoltura Bianco visits to see how the population is doing. Each place also has its own flowers and plants so you also have different types and flavors of honey such as acacia, orange, eucalyptus and chestnut. Fresh aromas of, for example, lemon, forest fruits or hazelnut are also added. Of course we also got a tasting here, hmm the honey is really tasty and almost fresh in taste.

Olive oil
Finally we visited a family business with olive oil: Frantoio Verna. This company has been around for 150 years and the 3 children of the previous generation have just taken over. They have also just invested in a machine that presses the olives into olive oil. At first this was done with 2 stones that rotated on top of each other. In September and October, when the olives are generally ripe for harvesting, the first wagons arrive. Because every farmer wants to be sure that only his olives (the very best of course) are used and they are not mixed with other olives, they often wait until the machine is ready. The 3 young owners also have their own harvest and make their own olive oil under their own label. And the nice thing is that they are also available in different flavors: with lemon, orange and mint. The bottle also looks super nice, it goes in the suitcase to the Netherlands 🙂

On Friday evening, the six of us had a nice barbecue with arrosticini. These are skewers with lamb that are typical of the Abruzzo region. As a side dish we ate potatoes from the oven with the olive oil and herbs we received that day. It was a pleasure to enjoy the food, the people and the setting sun. We will definitely come back soon!

Source: Leukerecepten by leukerecepten-nl.
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