The first stopover of a journey to discover the food and wine riches of the region can only start from Vulture with its Aglianico DOC.
The Aglianico del Vulture DOC, defined as the "Barolo of the south", is a robust wine with an intense flavour that, thanks to the properties of the volcanic soil on which it is born, acquires the characteristics of taste so rare and much appreciated. Listed as one of the best wines in Italy and in Europe, it has a ruby red colour or a lively garnet and with aging it has reflections that tend towards orange. It has a pleasant vinous smell, a dry and harmonious flavour, rightly tannic that tends to velvety with aging. With a gradation of never less than 12° it is perfectly combined with meat dishes, better if roasted or game. It can be tasted in the towns of Rionero in Vulture, Barile, Ginestra, Ripacandida, Rapolla, Melfi, Maschito, Venosa and Lavello.
The second stopfor all lovers of good food takes us to the mountains of Filiano where the wonderful Pecorino DOP (protected designation of origin) is produced. A hard and semi-cooked cheese made from whole and raw sheep's milk. Another cheese, the excellence of Lucanian food and wine is the Caciocavallo Podolico, symbol of the southern dairy tradition, produced with 100% milk of podolica cows and then matured in natural grotto. Both cheeses are superb with kernels of walnuts and honey or cured meats to accompany them but the Caciocavallo finds its maximum expression if cooked "hanged" on the grill.
If we talk about high quality salami with a decidedly unmistakable flavour, we must go to Picerno or taste the chain sausage of Cancellara which is not just a cold cut, it is a triumph of taste. Worked in a totally artisanal way, with meat coming only from farms in the wild and worked with a knife tip, has a perfect balance between fat and lean parts and is flavoured with wild fennel seeds and Senise pepper powder. Ecstasy for the palate!
Moving further south, precisely to Sarconi, we find in our third stage, very special and colourful beans with an unmistakable taste. These are the Fagioli di Sarconi PGI, also known as "Beans of first water" because almost all of them don’t need soaking. High quality, they have a typical sweet taste that differentiates them from all the other types available on the market. The production is not industrial, but it is done according to customs and customs dear to the peasant world, which have been handed down over the years until today.
Further south, in the Pollino park we find another Lucanian eno-gastronomic excellence: La Melanzana Rossa (red aubergine) di Rotonda. This fourth stage lets us discover this fruit with a particular shape. Although in appearance it is reminiscent of a tomato, it has the spongy consistency typical of common aubergines. Small and round, it has a slightly spicy and bitterish flavour that makes it ideal as a side dish or as a single dish.
If we move from Rotonda to Senise, here we find the base of almost all the Lucanian dishes: the Peperone.
The Pepper of Senise IGP, fresh, baked or dried is a delicacy that enriches all dishes. With excellent nutritional properties, there are three types (Appuntito, Uncino and Tronco) and are strictly hand-picked to be then stored and used in typical dishes such as "Cod with peppers cruschi", typical of Avigliano, or in the "Strascinato mollicato", Fresh pasta topped with chopped pepper and with a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs.
The fifth and last stage of taste is in the city of the Sassi, Matera, famous not only for its architectural and archaeological beauties but also for its bread with a particular shape, crispy outside and very soft inside. With the classic croissant shape, original and unique in taste, it embodies all the excellence of the Lucanian territory. Due to its historical and organoleptic qualities it has become an IGP product.
Throughout the region it is possible to taste the Cardoncello, an exquisite mushroom that grows spontaneously. It is a very well-known and appreciated fungus since ancient Roman times for the delicate and extraordinary flavour that makes any dish sparkling, managing to seduce even the most refined palates. To savour then there is certainly the Scorzone, a very resistant truffle that lasts longer than the other varieties, has an intense but delicate taste at the same time and a typical smell.
To top it all off then there will be the extra-virgin olive oil from Basilicata, the condiment par excellence of a land where the olives are still grown and aged in a totally natural way and where the harvest is still done by hand in total respect for the environment.