Monday, May 26, 2014

THE PA MELTING POT - Part 9-2 - Southern Europeans - Calabria & the Griko People in Calabria and Puglia

Below the column you will find photos, video links, food links and more!!  Enjoy!!

The Melting Pot:  A look at the evolution of food in Southwestern PA.  Part 9 SOUTHERN Europeans Part 2 – CALABRIA AND THE GRIKOS PEOPLE

The Italian populations of Allegheny and Fayette counties are 17% and 14% respectively. The main Italian groups who immigrated to western PA were from Sicily, Calabria, Abruzzi and Campagna. Overpopulation, political and natural disasters were the main reasons for immigration.

Calabrian cuisine: consists of salsicce (sausages) such as insaccati, capicolli, sopressate and njudà (dried sausage with black/hot pepper and fennel seeds). In addition, pork, goat meat and lamb are usually cooked in a sauce or on the grill.

Pasta includes multiple pastas and shapes with sauces of meat and tomato.  

Fish is served in coastal towns: prawns: shrimp, mackerel, calamari, octopus, swordfish, carpaccio and mustica (sardines).The sardines are preserved in terra cotta containers & the sauces are served with buttered bread.

Vegetables and home-preserved vegetables are also typical of Calabrian cuisine: peppers (black, hot and sweet) are used to flavor sun-dried tomatoes, courgettes (zucchini squash) and wild mushrooms and are conserved in olive oil. Stuffed eggplants and peppers are popular.

Three favorite cheeses are caciocavallo (stretched-curd cheese of sheep's or cow's milk in the shape of a gourd on a rope), buturri (small provolones with butter in the center) and smoked Ricotta.  

Wines such as Vibo, Rossano, Bivongi, Greco di Biance, Lamezia, Melissa, Pollino, Savuto and Ciro are musts when eating the food of Calabria.


It is impossible to talk about Calabria without mentioning the Grikos.

The Grikos people are an ethnic Greek community of southern Italy located in Calabria and Apulia (Puglia) and are believed to be remnants of a once ancient and medieval Greek community.  Although most Greek inhabitants of southern Italy have become Italianized over the centuries the Grikos community has been able to preserve their original Greek identity, heritage, language and distinct culture to a degree.

Griko cuisine is a blend of Italian and Greek cuisines:

The Griko people are traditionally producers of cereals, vegetables, olives and legumes. Local Griko cuisine does not differ greatly from the local Italian population, however there regional variations. Many typical Griko dishes are still in use among the people.

Breads include Pitta and Lestopitta. Also, there is Sceblasti (a hand-made bread), Aggute (Greek-Calabrian Easter bread decorated with painted hard boiled eggs, similar to the Greek Tsoureki).

Pastas and pasta dishes include Ciceri e ttria (tagliatelle served with chickpeas), Cranu stompatu (a wheat dish), Ricchiteddhe (pasta) Minchiarieddhi (long macaroni), sagnencannulate (a wide tagliatelle and triddhi (irregular shaped pasta used in broth). 

Other dishes include Ricchiteddhe cu lle rape (orecchiette with turnips).
Hot Chili peppers are popular and they are usually stored dry, or preserved in in jars of oil, with the addition of slivers of garlic, mint, and capers.

Desserts/sweets include Mendulata te cranu (a dessert pastry filled with cream cheese, honey, sugar and vanilla), Le Cuddhure (Griko Easter cake) and Scardateddhi (Greek-Calabrian wedding sweets made from flour, honey and anise seeds, shaped like small doughnuts  and sprinkled with brown sugar).

Beverages are wines and Greek-based:  Retsina (Greek white or rosé wine flavored with pine resin), tsipouro (brandy made from Pomace - solid remains of grapes which are skins, pulp, seeds and stems) or ouzo (combination of pressed grapes, herbs, berries including aniseed, licorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel and hazelnut).


Calabrian photos. 


  Calabrian food photos


Puglian photos

Puglian food photos. 


VIDEO (IN ITALIAN):  How to make sagne ncannulate:



                                                    Grikos food photos