Top 5 Tastes: Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast conjures images of crystal blue waters, rocky grottos, beachside resorts, and chic cliffside villas. However, one would be remiss to exclude the delicious dishes, seasonal products, and regional specialties of this sun-filled area. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time along the Amalfi Coast, jumping from the Isle of Capri to Sorrento and Amalfi. It’s a magical, picturesque region where time seems to stand still. Having just traveled from Rome, I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh, light, and vibrant flavors found along the coastline. To this day, one of my most memorable meals was enjoyed in Sorrento. Here are our Top 5 Eats from the Amalfi Coast.
Mozzarella de Bufala
Water buffalo farms and dairies dot the coastline along the “Mozzarella Road” in Paestum, near Salerno. Paestum is the area home to Mozzarella di Bufala. In 2008 the cheese was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status. PDO status is important in Italy. To receive the PDO status, the entire product must be traditionally and entirely manufactured (prepared, processed and produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties. In the case of Mozzarella, its milk can only be sourced from local herds of buffalo.
All throughout Southern Italy you’ll find dishes featuring freshly made Mozzarella. It plays a star role in insalata caprese, and tops the famous Naples pizza. Or, if you’re a purist, just eat it plain—perhaps on a piece of crusty bread drizzled with olive oil.
Pro tip: If you find yourself visiting the Paestum area, you can taste and buy fresh cheeses at the source. Farms give tours of the entire productions process!
Lemons are an iconic symbol in the Amalfi Coast. Lemon groves can be found along the steep seaside cliffs from Sorrento to Amalfi. Lemon trees thrive in the temperate climate and fertile soil of the Sorrento Peninsula. Insanely aromatic and loaded with vitamin C and intense flavors, lemons of the Amalfi Coast are the perfect addition to most Southern Italian dishes. Risotto, pasta, seafood, dessert, and even pizza are upgraded in flavor with the addition of fresh squeezed lemon. And one can’t forget Limoncello when talking about lemons and Amalfi. Zesty, sweet, and refreshing, you’ll have no problem enjoying a sip or two of this beloved Italian liqueur.
Bring the flavors of Campania to your home with this easy-to-follow Limoncello recipe from The Kitchn.
Naples, the birthplace of pizza. We should all be giving daily thanks to the people of Naples for giving the world this utterly delicious dish. Did you know that pizza Napoli is a regionally protected pizza style? That’s right, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) was founded in 1984 in Naples to certify pizzerias that use the proper ancient artisan traditions of authentic Neapolitan pizza. With this certification comes an exhaustive list of requirements and specifications that must be achieved.
It should come as no surprise that the best pizza in the world is found in the Amalfi Coast. San Marzano tomato and Mozzarella di Bufala are two essential ingredients produced and grown in the region. Some may say it was destiny.
Anytime you have a region located next to a body of water, you can be sure to find amazingly fresh seafood. The Campania region is no exception. Octopus, squid, clams, mussels, lobster, and sardines—these are just a few of the underwater treasures you’ll find on any menu along the coast. Remember that memorable meal I mentioned above? It was a black squid ink pasta with whole lobster and lemon from an al fresco restaurant in Sorrento. Whether you are dining at a fancy seaside restaurant in a chic resort town or on a tiny fisherman’s island, you can be sure to experience some of the freshest and tastiest seafood dishes to be found.
We recommend: La Basilica Restaurant and L’Antica Trattoria.
Sfogliatella was created in the monastery of Santa Rosa in Conca dei Marini in the province of Salerno, Italy. The shell-like pastry is made with thin, flaky layers of dough, powdered sugar, and filled with almond paste or orange-scented ricotta. It’s light, sweet, and can be eaten by hand—’nuff said.