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These sun soaked islands are full to bursting with seafood and Mediterranean veg, along with regional classics. We’ve pulled out our food highlights so you can experience the very best of local cuisine.
Don’t leave Capri & Sorrento without trying…
Baba al limoncello at I Giardini di Cataldo.
Wander through the lemon groves, and taste gelato and jams made from this heritage brand of limoncello, which attributes its superior quality to the volcanic soil, hand-peeling and no chemicals. You can sample and buy jars of mini baba (like rum baba but soaked in limoncello) to take home.
Negroni sbagliato and canapés
Pronounced ‘spa-lee-ah-toe’ (AKA a ‘wrong negroni’, as it mixes Prosecco or Franciacorta with Campari and vermouth instead of gin), this is the perfect sundowner on the terrace of Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento, a great foodie base for a stay in this region. Tiny sandwiches and pastries whet your appetite for dinner.
Seafood & veg
At the hotel’s restaurant, Terrazza Bosquet, chef Antonino Montefusco’s menu shows both his skill and playful approach. Order ‘La Dolce Vita’, a starter of seafood and local seasonal vegetables, which arrives in a tin that’s opened at the table, then arranged like a bouquet of flowers.
Prawns bon bon
Monzu restaurant, Capri. This starter makes the most of the delicately sweet, raw local prawns. Served in a ‘soup’ of lemon, olives and almond oil, dressed with flaked almonds and microherbs, it’s beautifully simple.
Frolla pastries for breakfast
Made from a soft, slightly chewy shortcrust dough, the longer name is ‘sfogliatella frolla’. A round dome-shaped pastry, they are filled with sweetened ricotta, semolina, candied fruit and cinnamon.
Chef Luigi Lionetti at Monzu restaurant, Capri, explains that this traditional flourless cake, using butter, sugar, almonds and chocolate, is the subject of much argument. Should the egg yolks be separated, and when should they be added to the other ingredients? It’s now seen as much on breakfast buffets as it is as an afternoon treat.
Delizie al limone
These individual sponge cakes are filled with lemon cream, topped with whipped cream and sometimes spiked with limoncello.
Ring-shaped savoury biscuits sometimes flavoured with fennel seeds. A good snack with wine.
The classic salad from Capri is made with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt.
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina
Potato gnocchi in a tomato sauce is one of the region’s popular comfort foods.
Foodie travel tips
- Ask how fish is priced. When buying in restaurants, check if it is being sold by weight or per fish – otherwise, you might get a shock when the bill arrives. Local fish include mormora (sea bream), pagello fragolino (snapper), octopus and cuttlefish.
- Eat fried food. Chef Antonio Montefusco says no trip to Campania is complete without tasting the Neapolitan street food ‘o’cuppetiello’, a brown paper cone filled with mini arancini, croqette, deep-fried mozzarella, seaweed, cauliflower or seafood. He also recommends taking a guided fishing trip while in Sorrento, especially for the ‘frittura di paranza’ – when the fishermen deep-fry whatever little fish are in the nets.
- Order pizza Napoli. Across the water from Naples – home of pizza – you’ll find unpretentious, great-value Da Giorgio on Capri, with great views over the bay. The clientele is a successful mix of locals and tourists, young and old. Get there before 1pm if you want to be seated immediately. Pizzas are substantial, service is quick and no-nonsense.
Indulge in ice cream.
- Drink falanghina Anglianico and Franciacorta. Campania’s ubiquitous white grape is falanghina (fa-lan-ghee-nah), which goes well with seafood. On Capri, Scala Fenicia’s Capri Bianco is a white wine blend of greco, falanghina and biancolella – you can take a guided tour and tasting. Anglianico (ay-lyah-nee-koh) is the region’s full-bodied red. If you want fizz, you’ll find that Lombardia’s answer to champagne, Franciacorta (frahn-chah-cor-tah) is widely available and a pleasant (though more expensive) alternative to Prosecco.
Accommodation for this trip was provided by Punta Tragara, Capri (hoteltragara.com), and the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento (exvitt.it).
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below…