Known throughout the world for the Red Onion of Tropea and the chilli pepper, Calabria also produces a variety of other typical and unique fruits. The Bergamot of Reggio Calabria, as well as the annona and the clementine of the Plain of Sibari, all constitute just some of the region’s most highly prized products.
Annonas of Reggio Calabria
The Calabrian Annona is a subtropical fruit, native to South America and Spain, which has acclimatised well to the province of Reggio Calabria. Its fragrant white flesh has a delicate yet unique taste. Its aroma is reminiscent of banana and pineapple.
The Bergamot of Reggio Calabria
Bergamot, with the scientific name of Citrus Bergamia Risso, is a distinctive citrus fruit belonging to the Rutaceae family. The oil obtained from its peel is used as an ingredient in perfumes, sweets and liqueurs. Bergamot essential oil is produced along the coastal strip extending from Villa San Giovanni to Gioiosa Jonica, between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas. Calabria is the largest producer of bergamot, accounting for 90% of the world’s total production.
In the Upper Tyrrhenian Cosentino, in the area between Sangineto and Tortora, the rarest species of cedar is grown. In fact, it is from this unique citrus fruit that the “Riviera dei Cedri” (Cedar Riviera) takes its name. Every year, the rabbis of many Jewish communities from all over the world travel to the Upper Tyrrhenian Cosentino to hand-pick cedars. Produced according to rabbinic tradition, they are one of the most sacred fruits in the Jewish religion.
Clementines of the Plain of Sibari
Clementines of Piana di Sibari, an IGP-labelled product, are a hybrid of bitter orange and the common mandarin; they are the most lucrative citrus fruit grown in the region thanks to their precociousness and quality. The “common" clementine and other seedless clones require a slightly lower temperature so are better suited to hilly coastal areas.
Red Onions of Tropea IGP
The Red Onion of Tropea, Calabria has a sweet yet strong taste. It is typically eaten fresh in salads, cooked in traditional recipes or fried in olive oil for use in sauces and gravies. It can also be made into a jam. The Red Onion of Tropea is rich in minerals and vitamins (vitamin C, A, B, E) and in sulphur, magnesium, potassium, iron, fluorine, phosphorus and calcium.
It is thought that fig trees were introduced to the area by travellers from the Middle East. The best and most widespread variety is the "Dottato” fig which is typically found on the hills of Cosenza. This variety produces an exceptional, fleshy and soft fruit. The figs are grown and dried using traditional methods that have been passed down since the Magna Graecian era.
Aubergines of Belmonte
This violet aubergine boasts a De.CO (municipal designation of origin) label and benefits from a sweet taste. It also has very few seeds and a smooth skin.
Produced in the Aspromonte National Park, or more specifically in the territory of Sant'Eufemia d'Aspromonte, the Aspromonte potato is of a particularly high quality. It comes in several varieties including the Bellina (round with white flesh); the Spunta (elongated shape, either yellow or white flesh); and the Patata Rosa (slightly elongated shape and a white or pale pink flesh). The Aspromonte potato has been awarded the De.CO. (municipal designation of origin) label.
Sila IGP potatoes
Grown in a potassium-rich soil on the Sila plateau at an altitude of 1200 metres, the Sila potato has a round shape, a resistant skin and a higher than average percentage of starch.
Calabria is known as the land of hot chilli pepper and it is precisely in Calabria, in Diamante to be precise, that the National Chilli Pepper Academy was established. Rich in provitamin A and vitamin C, chilli pepper has antiseptic, digestive and vasodilatory properties.
There are several varieties of chilli pepper, including:
Cultivated in the municipality of Belmonte Calabro (CS), belmonte tomatoes exist in two different varieties: “Cuore di Bue” (Ox’s Heart) and “Gigante” (Giant). They are the perfect salad tomato.