Matera Food Guide

Food is a relevant part of a city experience. On the one side, Matera’s cuisine is simple – based simply on the high quality of the ingredients – and ancient, rich in genuine flavors coming from the soil and the peasant traditions. On the other side, it is a cuisine that fits with the most sensitive modern palates, as its dishes mainly consist of cereals, legumes and vegetables. Originally, meat was rarely eaten, that is only during the few celebration days. In the restaurants of Matera you can choose among delicious dishes. Here below there is a list of the most known and best ones!

Matera Food Guide

Here are the best typical dishes of Matera

The Bread

Bread is the king of the local culinary tradition. The main cultivation in our lands is wheat and it is not surprising that bread is at the center of everything. Even in the Middle Ages the bakers of Matera supplied bread to the troops of the Kingdom army. It is obtained following an ancient recipe, which considers exclusively the use of durum wheat. During the preparation baker makes three cuts into the dough with a knife, which represent the Holy Trinity. The bread of Matera is unanimously recognized among the best ones in Italy.

Bread of Matera

Cialledda

It is a kind of bread salad. A way to make stale bread delicious. The stale bread is cut into cubes, that are then wet and mixed with fresh tomatoes, olives, red onion, carousels, basil, oregano, oil, salt, garlic, sometimes eggs and anything your imagination suggests. Cold served is irresistible. There is also a warm, winter version. In your mouth it will taste like an explosion of Mediterranean flavors. It is a Frugal dish and used to be the typical peasants’ breakfast. Cialledda is also prepared in Puglia, but they lack of Matera bread!

Cialledda, Matera

Pignata

It is perhaps the poorest one among the traditional dishes, so minimal that today has become fashionable. It contains mashed beans with chicory, which are particularly bitter vegetables, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, that enhances its flavor. The velvety texture and the pureness of the pure is perfectly balanced by the sour and tasty vegetables. Today it is served cold in restaurants as a starter or hot as a main course. It goes without saying, it comes with a slice of the excellent Matera bread.

Pignata

Fave e Cicorie (Fava Beans and Chicory)

It is perhaps the poorest one among the traditional dishes, so minimal that today has become fashionable. It contains mashed beans with chicory, which are particularly bitter vegetables, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, that enhances its flavor. The velvety texture and the pureness of the pure is perfectly balanced by the sour and tasty vegetables. Today it is served cold in restaurants as a starter or hot as a main course. It goes without saying, it comes with a slice of the excellent Matera bread.

Fava beans and chicory

Crapiata

Crapiata is an archaic dish. Countless generations in the past have been fed on bread, legumes and little else. And Crapiata is a mix of legumes and grains. Every year on August the 1st, people from the Sassi neighborhoods used to meet in the little squares to prepare the crapiata together and celebrate the harvest. This custom remains alive even today in the rural village of La Martella, which has hosted families displaced from the Sassi since the 1950s.

Crapiata Matera

Focaccia

It is a oven-baked bread product similar to pizza but thicker. It can be seasoned differently. The most traditional one in Matera is with cherry tomatoes, olives and is cooked directly on the stone of the oven, without baking tray, so that it gets its typical strong and characteristic flavor. Focaccia with peeled tomatoes, Focaccia with potatoes, Focaccia with onions and so on are also very popular here. There are many bakeries in Matera that sell focaccia and local people often allow themselves this uncomparable palate pleasure. The focaccia made by Paoluccio, who own a small historic bakery in via del Corso, is among the most famous ones.

Focaccia, Matera

Gnimmeredd

Gnimmeredd, unlike the other ones is not an Italian term, but a local dialectal one. That’s how we call this mixed offal of lamb or baby goat tight within their own casing. Seasoning such as parsley and salt are also added. Gnimmeredd have got a strong and characteristic flavor. It is a dish of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tradition. In the past the butchers themselves served roasted meat and Gnimmeredd was the most affordable one. In Matera butcheries serving prepared dishes were concentrated along the street current called Via delle Beccherie. This tradition still exists in some nearby towns, expecially Laterza, Santeramo and Montescaglioso.

Gnummeridd

Peperoni Cruschi

They are red pepper, not spicy, dried and fried for a few seconds in a pot with oil at a very high temperature, which is necessary to make the pepper become extremely crunchy. Actually, the peperone crusco is original from Senise, a small village in Basilicata. Here in Matera dried peppers were prepared as well, but differently. But traditions change. So now the delicious Peperoni crushi are in every Matera restaurant, often as a refined pasta seasoning.

Peperoni Cruschi

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