Abruzzo and Molise: from the sea to the mountains
Here the sea off the coast is rich in both oily fish and the typical catch used to make traditional fish soup. The coastal strip provides durum wheat for pasta, olive oil and grapes for Montepulciano and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo wines.
Then come the mountains, from the Gran Sasso to the Maiella, with their own special flavours: cured ham from L’Aquila, the Mortadelline di Campotosto and Ventricina di Crognaleto e Guilmi salamis; the Incanestrato, Pecorino di Farindola, and Scamorza appassita di Rivisondoli and del Piano delle Cinquemiglia cheeses. Other products from the Apennines include vegetables from the Fucino plain, lentils and spelt, without forgetting truffles and saffron from Navelli.
Pasta plays an important role here, starting from the popular Maccheroni alla Chitarra, while soups are a valid alternative as a first course, especially soups made from local pulses. Main courses range from lamb with eggs and cheese to pork with peppers, cacciatora rabbit and baked trout. Menus in Molise tend to be very similar, with a greater accent on seafood in the port of Termoli on the Adriatic, famous for its rich fish soup, and further inland products that begin to betray southern influences, from Caciocavallo cheese to Soppressata salami, with the increasing presence of chilli pepper.