Welcome to Molise
|Nonne from Molise|
|Recipes from Molise|
Spring in Ururi (Campobasso) - Photo: Pino Perrotta
Located just north of Puglia on the Adriatic Sea, Molise is the youngest of Italian regions, as it was until 1963 part of Abruzzo, of which it was actually a province in olden times. It is also the second smallest region in Italy, Valle d'Aosta being the smallest.
It is mainly mountains and uplands, although a tip extends in the East to the Adriatic Sea with about 35 km of very beautiful coastline. There are only two provinces, Isernia and the capital Campobasso.
This area of Italy is not very rich, due to the nature of its territory and the absence of lowlands, a barrier to its economic growth. The inhabitants were mostly shepherds and farmers, who found very little market for their produce, as such most Molisani immigrated to other regions or to other countries.
Today, Molise’s economy is based on processing. Pasta factories, milk, olive oil, small to medium factories are spread throughout the region. Termoli, the largest town on the coast, besides being quite popular with summer tourism, also has a Fiat plant which provides work to many.
The tourist industry is beginning to flourish, but not in an industrial manner, and that is the reason Molise is so attractive: you can spend time in long uncongested beaches, then spend the evening on the hills, enjoying a simple and very relaxing break. Molise is the place to go to re-generate.
The “Cucina Molisana” is a reflection of the lifestyle of the population in the last centuries. Being always on the road, selling their products, does not leave much time to make elaborate dishes. Because of this, Molise is better known for fresh vegetables, cheeses like scamorza and mozzarella, and cold meats. Olive oil is very strong, as is the “chili pepper” better known as “diavolino” (little devil).
Scamorze Molisane - Photo: Maria Gilda Matteucci
This, of course, does not mean that Molise is devoid of any dishes worth mentioning (and eating) . A Polenta made with wheat and potatoes and usually served with tomato sauces, the “calconi di ricotta”, ravioli stuffed with ricotta, provolone and prosciutto, then fried in olive oil. The sea, in the area of Termoli, provides delicious fish based “zuppe” with red mullet, fresh anchovies, squid, clams and crabs plenty.
This region produces a vast quantity of grapes and in the 1980s wines as Biferno and Pentro di Isernia were awarded with the D.O.C. designation.