H is for hazelnut:
Campania is Italy’s oldest hazelnut-growing region. From 3 BC, Ancient Romans have attested to its tasty crunch through frescoes of hazelnut trees uncovered in Herculaneum. Carbon dating of ancient tree samples reveal that today’s little brown nocciola (no-cho-la) is quite similar to what Ancient Romans snacked on. The hazelnut’s versatility in various dishes, its ease of shelling and naturally abundant growth in Campania have popularized the filbert, its common American name. The nocciola has been commercially valuable for a long time. In the late 1600s during the reign of the Kingdom of Naples, there were even specialized royal offices that tracked and measured the quantity of hazelnuts.
The favorable climate and fertile soils of Campania prove to be especially nourishing for hazelnut trees, as they have with so many other products in this series. The Irno Valley and the Picentini Mountains are hazelnut hotspots, as well as the hills of Naples, Casertano and Flegrea. Salerno hazelnuts are especially prized. Above all, the Nocciola di Giffoni is the most highly praised, and gained IGP status in 1997. 10% of national production takes place in the Irno Valley and Picentini Mountains, of which only 10% are directly consumed. The other 90% is made into confectionary delights like Nutella (of Italian origin and originally called Gianduia) and other pastries, candies and sweets, or even in pasta dishes and main courses, such as this Pork and Milk with Giffoni Hazelnuts regional specialty.
Azienda Agrituristica: Fattoria Antico Borgo dei Briganti di Granese Ennio
Via S. Giorgio, 25
Giffoni Valle Piana (Salerno)
Agriturismo Bosco Farneto
Caserta, Italy 81050
Agriturismo Barone Antonio Negri
Via Teggiano, 8
84084 Fisciano (Salerno)
H is for Hirpinia (Antica):
The vineyards and winery of Antica Hirpinia began as a few cement buildings that produced their specialty wine Taurasi. Today, it boasts top-of-the-line technology that works in harmony with nature and uses traditional production methods, a restaurant that pays close attention to wine pairing and includes a variation of dishes that rotate with the seasons, and a tasting room.
“Hirpinia” is an ancient variation of “Irpinia,” and recalls Campania’s centuries-long wine history. The areas of Avellino and Benevento, originally one region ruled by the ancient tribe Taurasini and named Ager Taurasinus, began grape cultivation in 273 AD. Antica Hirpinia’s land is known for possessing prime conditions for cultivating the Aglianico grape, which is the base grape of Taurasi. The hard-clay soil, rich in potassium and phosphates, is also ideal for the grape varieties Greco di Tufo, Fiano and Coda di Volpe, all of which are also cultivated by Antica Hirpinia.
Antica Hirpinia produces DOCG Taurasi of 100% ruby-red Aglianico, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo; DOC Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio in Rosso and Bianco; and IGT Falanghina del Beneventano, Donna Eleonora Irpinia Fiano, Irpinia Aglianico, and Don Gesualdo Irpinia Rosso. In addition, they make grappa and limoncello. As one can imagine, with such a wide variety of wines, grappa and limoncello, the restaurant pairs each course with its perfect complementary beverage.
Vineyard Adventures is happy to arrange tours to discover the vineyards and winery at Antica Hirpinia.
Auffrey, Richard. 2004 Antica Hirpinia Aglianico Irpinia IGT. The Passionate Foodie. 29 July 2008.
Foods of Campania. ItalianMade.
Fruits and Nuts. Campania Foods Corporation.
Noce di Sorrento. Regione di Campania – Assessorato all’Agricoltura.