Food tasting in Matera
The cuisine of Matera has much in common with the neaby Region of Apulia: orecchiette (ear-shaped handmade pasta) prepared with fresh tomato or with turnip tops, broccoli, cauliflower or with breadcrumb and sultana grapes.
In this Province, peperoncino (hot pepper) is widely used (as in Calabria) and goes by at least three different names: diavulicchiu, frangisello, and cerasella.
Another typical dish is the cotto di fichi (cooked figs), a kind of cream made with boiled and dried figs. (The dish changes slightly if using prickly pears instead of figs.) The local Cardoncello mushroom is cooked in different ways or eaten raw with ricotta cheese, lemons and olive oil from Murgia of Matera.
And then the wheat and chickpea soup; the cialled, a type of soup with stale bread, eggs, olives, tomatoes and other vegetables; and other traditional dishes tied to religious events. Typical Easter dishes of Matera are the cardoons with cacio and eggs, the pirc'dduzz (pasta with a mulled wine dressing), and fusilli (particularly in Irsina) with fried breadcrumbs and cooked figs.
In the Metaponto area, fish dishes are very common, e.g. the scapece (fried anchovies marinated with vinegar) and the dried salted cod (baccalà) prepared with peppers. Lamb and sheep are also traditional Provincial dishes. Another typical dish is the gnummaridd, special rolls filled with sheep and kid giblets. One must try the eel as well, with hot peppers, tomatoes, mint and laurel.
Typical cheeses are: ricotta cheese, sheep's milk cheese and burrata (fresh mozzarella and cream cheese). Typical desserts are: figs with honey; pasch'nisch, a September dessert prepared with semolina and mulled must; the cuccìa, a boiled wheat dessert mixed with chocolate, pomegranate, walnuts and mulled wine.
Typical wines are: Val Bradano, Sangiovese, Moscato, Malvasia, and Elixir di noci.