The ABC’s of Campania Food & Wine: X, Y and Z

X, Y and Z are for…?:

The incomplete ABC’s of Campania list may never be completed, at least not until the Italian language adds X and Y to its alphabet. As for Z, if there are any suggestions for a Campanian wine or winery, do let me know! Z is for Zeppole di San Giuseppe, a delicious, cream-filled Saint Joseph’s fritters dessert, which is waiting for its vino-partner to make an appearance.

I have been attending classes at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, a Piemontese town where it is has been raining for days, as it has in the rest of Northern Italy. This means classes about food sovereignty, olive oil making, cheese tasting, the beer making process, food anthropology and food philosophy, media and communications as is related to food, and much, much more.

Just this past week I enjoyed an offal dinner – which was certainly not awful, but very delicious and…adventurous. Offal is the fifth quarter of an animal, as in tendon pesto that looked like a plate of rough-cut pasta; chicken liver pate topped with candied fruit with a side of Tuscan olive oil and toast; creamy, breaded cow brain served on spoons; tripe (cow stomach) in a slurpy, red sauce and sprinkled with pecorino toscano; and much more was on our menu. This was in preparation for our week-long Tuscan study trip beginning on Tuesday, where in the past, Tuscans made use of as much of the animal as possible. In the week to come, however, I don’t think we’ll have the honor of another offal dinner. Instead, we’ll be watching the olive oil process, as the olive harvest is now, in November; visit a geothermal power plant that naturally grows basil all year long; see traditional bakeries and pecorino toscano cheese-making; and of course sample many Tuscan wines, including some Super Tuscans.

Again, I’d love to feel like the ABC’s of Campania are neatly wrapped up and write about a Z wine. Send me some names if you have them! In the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for something uniquely Campanian.


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