Kent & Campania
We have opened our new shop & kitchen in Margate. All of our fresh ingredients are from local Kent farms and suppliers, and we import a range of Italian produce from Campania.
Simona is from Foglianise, a village an hour or so drive from Naples to the east, and Amalfi to the south. Her family have lived there for centuries and her mother's family name, the same as that of the mountain on which the village is built, is Caruso.
The region, Campania, derives its name from Roman settlers and was originally called Campania Felix meaning Happy Countryside. The region with its fertile volcanic soils and stunning coastlines produced a dazzling array of fish, meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables and wines to keep Rome, less than a couple of hundred miles away, supplied.
Over the years, various kings, dynasties, armies and pirates invaded Campania and the South of Italy, some briefly, others for centuries. All left a piece of their own family's culinary tradition: the Ancient Greeks brought grapes and symposias, the Spanish tomatoes and chocolate, North African and Arabic cultures infused spices and chilli. The Normans, the French, the Bourbons, the Piedmontese have all contributed to making Campania a region rich in culinary history.
Somebody once quipped, "If Rome is Italy's heart, then Naples is its stomach."
If you haven't been to Naples - go - really. It is a truly epic city that, as well as having some of the world's great churches, paintings and ancient myths, exists as it has done for centuries. There is a vibrancy and animation not seen elsewhere in Europe.
And, of course, there's the food. Pizza was born in Naples and is the best you'll ever taste - anywhere. But there is so much more. Rum Baba, the world's best mozzarella, limoncello, spaghetti alle vongole, parmigiana di melenzane, pasta e fagioli, polpette, sfogliatelle, torta ricotta e pera, torta caprese...
There are lots of recipes on Stories & Recipes from Foglianise and Simona's family, and also from other areas of Campania, from the coastal villages of Cilento, the mountainous towns of Avellino and, of course, from Naples.