The Campania region of Italy
The land around the famous Vesuvius volcano, near Naples, is very fertile thanks to the minerals contained in the lava combined with the Mediterranean microclimate of the zone.
It is a great place for apricots cultivation, over 100 types, including 'La Pellecchiella' considered the finest of all. It is a combination of a sweet taste and a compact pulp.
Also of note are cherries. Ask for the 'Ciliegia del Monte' which has a clear succulent and perfumed fruit and a red and yellow color.
It was only while researching this short piece that it occurred to us that 'caprese', as in 'insalata caprese', actually refers to the island of Capri. It seems so obvious now! However, don't be fooled further that the root of the word 'capri' comes from 'goat'. We explain all here.
The traditional gastronomy of the island is based on fish and fresh vegetables all livened up with luscious olive oil. Although simple and tasty, the cuisine is a subtle combination of influences left over by the various rulers of the island, from the Greeks and Romans to the French and Spanish.
The Alta Valle del Sele, located in the province of Salerno, is a zone of lush plains, thick woods, rocky mountains and running streams. This means, above all, black truffles.
The locality of Colliano is known as the "Terra del Tartufo" due to the discovery of the "tartufo nero di Bagnoli" in a wood on Monte Marzano.
If you are looking to buy the best wines of Benevento province in Campania, then the must-have guide is called 'Guida completa ai vini del Sannio' by Luciano Pignataro e Pasquale Carlo. The book is subtitled '70 estates, 500 labels' and the the authors' choice or 'I vini del cuore' is listed below.
It is interesting to note that Benevento is the only province in Italy with a sort of natural wine route. Almost all of the cantine and estates of interest are located along the Fondovalle Telesina and easily reachable.