Travel: Eating your way through Italy’s Abruzzo region

Italy’s Abruzzo region specializes in history, spectacular sights and culinary delights. And when it comes to that latter point, here’s what travelers should add to their itinerary:

Dining in Abruzzo

Confesercenti, the Italian trade organization, named Abruzzo the best place to dine in Italy. When eating out, diners should consider ordering the following:

Brodetto (Abruzzese fish stew)
Mussels stuffed with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a sauce of tomatoes, red pepper and garlic
Sliced octopus served over polenta
Rintrocilo, a thick noodle pasta, topped with a sugo (meat sauce) containing lamb, pork, chicken, pancetta or veal
Ricotta-filled ravioli with a saffron cream sauce
Wild rabbit over pappardelle pasta
Turkey scallopini in a porcini mushroom sauce
Tongue in a red wine sauce
Macheroni alla chittara (square pasta strands made with guitar strings) in a minced lamb, pork or goose ragu
Timballo alla teramana, an Abruzzese version of Italian lasagna, with crêpe layers sandwiched in-between layers of minced beef, vegetables, tomato sauce and parmesan
Baccheri (thick tube-shaped pasta with pumpkin cream and black truffle sauce)
Scapece (fish fillets fried in olive oil and marinated in a vinegar and saffron broth)
Veal tripe in tomato sauce
Salty cake (a blend of prosciutto, cheese, carrots, eggs and herbs)
Gnocchi caratti, pasta flavored with guanciale or pancetta, eggs and pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese)
Lengua guazzetto (tongue and mixed vegetables splashed with wine)
Lamb liver, heart and lung in a spicy gravy (a mountain dish)
Arrosticini (sliced grilled mutton); it’s the king of street food.

Also: In Italy, experiencing all that Abruzzo has to offer

Recommended restaurants

Sulmona

Osteria dell’Arco
Don Ciccio
La Cantina di Biffi
Hotel Ovidius restaurant
BuonVento

Scanno

Trattoria Il Vecchio Mulino

Rocca San Giovanni

Trabocco Punta Tufano

San Salvo Marina

Ristorante Al Metrò (1 Michelin star)

Vasto

Le Cisterne
Il Re Pescatore
La Votta di Mare

Vasto’s Piazza Rossetti, in the old town, is beautifully illuminated at night. (Photo by Dorene Cohen)

La Cantina di Biffi in Sulmona offers up a beautiful rendition of steak tartare with quail egg and an abundance of shaved truffles. (Photo by Dorene Cohen)

Roasted chicken is ready for the La Panarda feast. (Photo by Dorene Cohen)

Items served during La Panarda included Slow Food cured meats, salsicciotto Frentano and Ventricina del Vastese, with fried eggplant, zucchini and gree. (Photo by Dorene Cohen)

La Selvotta Azienda Agricola offers tours and tastings of their Slow Food products of extra virgin olive oil and cioccolato, a spreadable chocolate cream. (Photo by Dorene Cohen)

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Foods and products

Red garlic of Sulmona
Saffron from Navelli or L’Aquila
Confetti from Sulmona
Pasta Giuseppe Cocco (available on Amazon)
Porchetta sandwiches, sliced off a whole roasted pig stuffed with garlic, fennel and hot pepper flakes at the Sulmona farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays
Guanciale amatriciano (cured pork cheek meat)
Ventricina Del Vastese (lean salami seasoned with sweet and spicy peppers, garlic, black pepper and fennel seeds)
Cured Maiale Nero (black pig); it’s succulent, with enticing meat aromas
Mortadella di Campotosto (salami in an oval shape sold in pairs tied with string, locally known as “mule balls”)

Wines and spirits

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (red)
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (white)
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo (rosé)
Pecorino (white)
Vino Cotto (Montepulciano wine reduced in a copper pot for hours, resulting in a fortified product with a distinctive smoky, semisweet caramelized flavor)
Goccia di Genziana (typical Abruzzese digestif, best served cold)

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