Fed­er­ica An­drisani, chef and co-owner, Fico, Ho­bart

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Ground Rules -

The last time I was in Napoli, my home­town, was two years

ago. Cam­pa­nia is a re­gion with a rich cul­tural fab­ric of Span­ish, French, Turk­ish and Ital­ian inf lu­ences. And it’s the home of moz­zarella di bu­fala.

When you drive from the north of Italy and cross over the border into the re­gion, the first thing you no­tice is the ca­seifi­cio: the road­side shops that make and sell fresh moz­zarella and scamorza af­fu­mi­cata ev­ery morning. You must stop and buy the still-warm fresh moz­zarella and eat it by the road­side with all the milk run­ning down your cheeks.

Napoli is also fa­mous for the morning rit­ual of eat­ing baba and sfogli­atella. The best I’ve found are at Scog­namiglio or Mary in the Gal­le­ria Um­berto shop­ping cen­tre.

Napoli is chaotic and full of energy. The first place I go is a lit­tle restau­rant called Il Grot­tino in Pomigliano d’Arco. Nino, the chef and owner, is a long-time fam­ily friend fa­mous for cook­ing the best fish over open char­coal. He’s al­most 70 now, but still mans the stoves, and ev­ery day he drives two hours to Formia to get fish. A cou­ple of his spe­cial­ties are raw tartufi di mare, large clams, and gam­beri rossi alla griglia, grilled red prawns. His risotto with squid ink, al nero di sep­pia, and salad of baby fish are also phe­nom­e­nal, and his wife, Rosaria, makes the best pizza chiena in Napoli.

Two of the most im­por­tant things in Neapoli­tan cul­ture are food and fam­ily. The peo­ple in Naples don’t need an ex­cuse to cel­e­brate – ev­ery day is Christ­mas or Easter; ev­ery day is a good day to stay to­gether, with fam­ily or friends, and to eat good food and drink good wine.

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