Saturday, July 3, 2010

TuttoCalabria: Can You Take the Heat?

This is another tale from the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC, June 2010. While strolling through Italian Pavilion I found myself in the Calabrian section. One reason I was drawn there is that I am part Calabrian. The fact that there were life-sized images of the stunning Bronzi di Riace at the entrance of the section also didn’t hurt. For heaven’s sake, I’m only human.

The famous Bronzi di Riace graced the entrance to the Calabrian section.

So I spent some time with Paolo Giovanni Celli at the TuttoCalabria booth, sampling food and learning about the company. It is based in Marcellinara, not far from Catanzaro. Founded by Antonio Celli in 1970, TuttoCalabria was one of the very first Calabrian food companies to produce and commercialize its region’s food products. Antonio Celli was a farmer who understood that the tantalizing tastes of the food he grew were made possible by the unique climate and soil of his region of Calabria. He knew that outsiders would never enjoy these flavors without visiting Marcellinara. So Antonio and his wife, Adele, began selling their products in little glass jars and today, TuttoCalabria can be found in Europe, America, Japan and Australia.

The tagline of the TuttoCalabria Company is Piccanti Per Passione or Spices For Passion (yeah, they get right to the point). After sampling some of their creations I can say that yes, the spices get the blood circulating. One wonderful concoction is Nduja, a spread made from salami, pancetta, vegetables and peperoncino. It was served as an antipasto on thinly sliced toast, but can also be mixed with pasta and extra virgin olive oil. It’s tasty, spicy and a treat for the mouth.

I couldn’t resist the Hot Pepper Sauce (Mousse di Peperoncino). It’s basically hot and sweet peppers in a jar whipped to a smooth consistency. Depending upon your spice tolerance, it’s a wonderful addition to many things, from sandwiches to pizza to sauces to marinades to dressings. If you’re like me, you might add it alone to some crusty Italian bread and enjoy the fireworks.

TuttoCalabria loves to stuff its hot peppers, too. They use fresh Quartirolo cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano and anchovies and tuna. Many products have wonderful names like “Esplosiva” and “Diavola”, but not everything they make is spicy. But all of their products, whether artichokes, mushrooms, olives or tomatoes, bring the sun, soil, air and water of Calabria to your palate.

To order some TuttoCalabria for yourself, go to

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