Sadly we leave beautiful Marche heading to Ortona.
Entering in Abruzzo we notice a landscape different from its neighbour (Marche). Hills are steeper and introduce a region of green and mountain nature. The majority of the delights here in Abruzzo comes from the mountain, where they develop a plain and rich flavour, as lamb and sheep meat – queen of the arrosticini – or savoury diary products, like Canestrato di Castel del Monte.
A dish could tell a lot about its territory, as pallotte cacio e ovo – bread and cheese balls (photo above). As soon as I tasted them, I realized to be approaching the South, thanks to their incredibly rich and intense flavour, that you can just fall in love with. Three simple ingredients – bread, cheese, eggs – properly describe their context: stale bread, symbol of the Italian cost-effective food, and local pecorino are married with egg. The balls are thrown into boiling oil, so that they can gain a real southern identity, getting crunchy and fried and so tasty. Usually in the home version, they sink into a tomato sauce. Yum.
Abruzzo is not only a mountain region. Indeed, our quick trip concentrates on a coast with a unique charm: the Costa dei Trabocchi, about 130 km long coast from Ortona to Vasto, in the province of Chieti.
A wild and jagged coast with clear and turquoise water, that owes the name to trabocchi, originally fishing machines built on piles literally in the middle of the sea. Light and elegant, with a maze of masts and ropes, they enrich and typify the panorama.
Some of these trabocchi are now turned into charming restaurants, where you can have a simple seafood lunch or dinner, usually with a fixed price menu of about 50 euros. Here you can find a good list of trabocchi where you can eat, from S. Vito Chietino to Vasto.
That’s an experience we didn’t have, but it’s easy to think how exciting would be to eat on one of these mysterious structures, maybe tasting a nice brodetto di pesce alla vastese (seafood broth) with a chilled glass of Trebbiano DOC.
Abruzzo is also land of wine. Driving on the highway and on the Statale Adriatica, you can notice that hills are covered by grapevines, for e.g. Pecorino or Passerina, widespread in this area. It’s not a coincidence that mosto cotto (cooked must) is a typical product from Abruzzo, a thick and pretty sugary liquid, which comes from pressing ripe grapes and used in sweets, such as nevole of Ortona.
The Costa dei Trabocchi is still unknown to many people, and this is mirrored into an authentic and unique charm. We just passed through, before reaching Puglia, but it was enough to understand that this touristic area is growing and, soon or later, it will be renovated and it will be different from how I knew it during this trip.
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