Ten fun ways to enjoy two of Italy’s least touristy regions.
1. Get Real!
Niko Romito’s restaurant, Reale, must be one of Italy’s best kept secrets. In their stylish eatery, Niko and his sister Christiana are turning out top class regional dishes with a deliciously sophisticated touch. Try the saffron gnocchi with courgettes and the mouth-watering pear and chocolate dessert. Rivisondoli (AQ) www.ristorantereale.it
2. Take the path to enlightenment
The Illuminati family in Controguerra produces some of Abruzzo’s ﬁnest wines, using grapes that were enjoyed by Hannibal himself! Their winery and cellar can be visited on weekdays and award-winning wines tasted before buying, including some wonderful Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. www.illuminativini.com
3. Have fun with formaggio
Franco Nucci’s family has been making its wonderful cheeses for generations, using milk from local breeds of cow that graze on Molise’s vast, lush pastures. Try their delicious ricotta, stracciata, scamorza and their prize-winning caciocavallo hung to mature in pairs. Via Roma 12, Agnone (IS) www.caseiﬁciodinucci.it
4. Take a roasting
Abruzzo is the land of arrosticini, so stop off at one of the many simple trattorie that offer these tasty lamb skewers cooked over hot coals. Rosticceria Villa Cupoli in Farindola and Bar Trattoria da Umberto in San Giovanni Teatino are two of the best.
5. Crunch on Confetti
The Di Carlo family in Sulmona has a long tradition in producing the area’s famous sugar and almond confetti. Buy a packet to nibble on, or have a bunch personalized for special occasions like weddings and christenings! www.dicarlo.it
6. Savour some Saffron
Locals tell you that the saffron produced in Navelli in Abruzzo is the best in the world. Try some for yourself in a warm yellow risotto, saffron-scented gnocchi, or in a fragrant saffron dessert. Visit the local consortium’s website for further info. www.zafferanodop.it
7. Let Tonino tempt you
From baccala’ and ziti with porcini ragu’ to rolled stuffed rabbit and a delicious mille foglie, Vecchia Trattoria da Tonino in Campobasso offers Molise’s best loved products cooked with passion and sensitivity. Authentic regional cuisine at its very best. Corso Vittorio Emanuele 8, Campobasso (+39) 0874 415200
8. Cook like a Pro
Abruzzo’s comforting, country style cookery is some of Italy’s simplest and most delicious. Abruzzo Cibus runs a series of cookery courses, both for amateurs and professionals, with visits to local artisans to learn the secrets of the region’s delicious bread, salamis and cheeses. www.abruzzocibus.com
9. Organise a Teddy Bear's picnic
Make that real bears, as a hike through the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo could bring you face to face with some of Italy’s few wolves and bears. Pick a safe spot and settle down to a feast of local porchetta, salami, some pecorino cheeses and wash it down with a good bottle of local red. www.parcoabruzzo.it
Made using a mixture of over 100 herbs and spices, Abruzzo’s traditional Centerba Torois no liqueur for cissies! Drink as a digestivo after dinner and visit website for more information and fun recipes using this unique, bright green liqueur. www.centerbatoro.it