The cuisine of Calabria has been greatly influenced by past conquerors. The Arabs brought oranges, lemons, raisins, artichokes and egg plants and the Cistercian monks introduced new agricultural practices and dairy products.
In the past the region suffered a great deal of poverty and even now the locals preserve everything they can for the winter. Tomatoes are sun dried, octopi are pickled, anchovies salted and peppers and aubergines packed into jars of oil and vinegar.
The chilli pepper is popular here and is crushed in oil and placed on the table with every meal to sprinkle over your food. The chilli was once considered to be a cure for malaria which probably accounts for its extensive use in this region.
The beautiful seaside resort is Tropea is reknowned for its beautiful red onions which are used freely in most dishes in that area.
Seafood is popular and swordish, often served thinly sliced with lemon and oil, is a favourite. Tuna, shrimp, lobster, sea urchin and squid are also to be found on most menus.
Ice cream or fresh fruit is mainly served for dessert and melons,particularly water melons, are abundant in Calabria and seem to taste juicier and sweeter than anywhere else.
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