Peperoncino Festival 2004 in Calabria Part 1 of 3

Fiery Foods Manager Europe Leave a Comment

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Email this to someone

Story and Photos by Harald Zoschke

Peperoncino Festival 2004 Banner

Festival Fever in Diamante

Calabria — that’s the southern tip of the Italian boot, and also in chile terms, that’s one of Europe’s hottest spots.

Every year, chileheads gather here at the Peperoncino Festival in Diamante, and in September 2004, we were lucky enough to head south again ourselves, for a week filled with fun and great spicy food.

As we discovered a lot of new stuff, we thought you might be interested in our 2004 Update. Enjoy!

Zio Rocco's spicy Special

This year, the Festival was from September 8 to 12. The weekend just before that event, some sort of Peace Festival was held, and it was well attended. But as soon as that was over, the coastal village of Diamante adjusted to its main attraction – peperoncini, as hot chiles are called here. You just couldn’t overlook the local restaurants’ hot and spicy menus, and many had specials for the “spicy week” (Settimana Piccante) – like Penne all’Arrabiata, Alici (anchovis) fried with peppers, plus a glass of wine for just 10 Euro (about US$ 12.00).

German Chiliheads at the giant peperoncino

Also, the giant peperoncino, Diamante’s landmark at this time of the year, was erected quickly again. To the right, that’s Renate and me, to the left two fellow chileheads from Germany. — You’d hardly find a shop now that wouldn’t decorate appropriately for the upcoming pepper fest…

Liquor store deco

Fiery Fashion I

Fiery Fashion II

Fiery Fashion III    Beautiful Calabria(ns)

Fashion of course also had to follow the fiery theme. Dear show organizers: Next year, we’d like to see a “hot” fashion show with real people – like the two ladies to the right 🙂

Peperoncino Bouquet

A jewelry store had this beautiful peperoncino bouquet in the window. Note to self: a nice table decoration for festive events at home! Also, every self-respecting chilehead should have a christmas tree as shown to the right this year.

Capsicum Christmas Tree

Chile Cocktail Test           

Café Nini, one of the most popular spots on Diamante’s beach promenade (Lungomare), surprised pepperhead patrons with spicy cocktails. Nini’s theme was “Capsicum e Alco”. Fine with me! To the left, a sort of cream liquor kicked up with chile powder is getting its taste test. This wasn’t too exciting. We were really thrilled though by Nini’s fiery and colorful “Afro” cocktail: Cedri (special kind of green citrus fruit) liquor mixed with Prosecco (sparkling wine) and sliced HOT peperoncini. Fiery, fruity and delish. “Afro” is short for afrodisia here, by the way.

Fire & Ice

What’s more, the folks at Nini’s are well known for unusual ice cream creations. So it’s no wonder they’re getting people into Peperoncino Festival mood with cool, uhm, hot creations like the one we discovered in their see-through freezer!

They use those chile-armed fire & ice monsters for their “Tartufo Afrodisia”. The surprise factor when ordering this ice cream cup: sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s not!

The Fiery Festival… finally!

Sunset at the Peperoncino Festival

Finally it’s Wednesday night, and the Peperoncino Festival is officially started, with all sorts of celebrations.

Even September is still hot in Calabria, that’s why the festival takes place at night and doesn’t start before 8:00 pm. I took this shot at the opening night right before sunset. Then I had to stroll the booths, tasting what’s hot, new and exciting…

Crispy Fried Chiles

We started with a typically southern Italian specialty, one of my favorites. Dried Peperone (mild but tasty peppers), fried in olive oil, then slightly salted. Many local restaurants have this light and crunchy snack on their menu.


Crispy Fried Chiles

At the festival it was served with a glass of red wine,
and I just had to eat it three nights in a row. Simple
but addictive!

 Sabbia d' Oro restaurant's booth

Spicy Gnocchetti

The kitchen staff of popular Sabbia d’ Oro beach restaurant could hardly keep up making their delicious Gnocchetti (small Gnocchi, flour-potato dumplings that are cooked like pasta). Of course they were served here in a spicy sauce made from tomato, peperoncini, herbs, arugula and olive oil. Yummy! We’ll have more about this fine restaurant later.

Salsiccia Piccante on the Grill

Salsiccia Piccante on the Grill

This young fellow grilled salsiccia piccante, a coarse pork sausage, spiced with fennel seed and peperoncini, a typical spice combination in this area. Dressed up with broccoli, they served the sausage in a bun  – kind of Hot Dog a la Calabrese!

That’s not all, folks. Keep on reading, the next page is here!




Top of Page    


Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Email this to someone