Culture and food

Enogastronomy has an increasingly important role in attracting visitors and tourists in Terracina.
The local enogastronomy helps people to discover typical and authentic products that offer the genuine taste and flavour of the locality.

Italian food and wine are famous in the world, especially pasta and pizza

Terracina is placed between Rome and Naples, so food and wine are a mix of specialities of these two big cities.
The Roman food is known for its simplicity. They prefer genuine but rather heavy ingredients. A great part of the Roman food tradition has its origin in ancient times, when many people were poor. They lived on what the rich part rejected. Therefore you can still find many dishes based on intestines, even in the more refined restaurants in Rome.
Beef, lamb, chicken, turkey. For their preparation they use "grease": olive oil and butter. There are few dishes based on fish on the Roman menu. In ancient times the Romans frequently used impressions from foreign countries in their cooking. The Neapolitan kitchen is based on pasta, even if the inventor of the pasta was a Chinese, Roma and Naples are the home of the Italian pasta.
Two other important ingredients are cheese and vegetables. In the area around Vesuvio, they grow tomatoes, potatoes, pepper, artichokes and fennel, which are all important elements of the Neapolitan cooking.
In Naples as in the rest of southern Italy, you eat a lot of fish and shellfish. People of the south has learned to appreciate and take care of what nature offers.

Terracina is situated on the sea, so fishing is an important occupation. Terracina has to thank partly to the professional fishermen who come into the port early every morning with the catch, and partly to the people who fish just for fun.
It´s exciting to watch them in the middle of the night sitting or standing on the shore, with small green lights attached, so that they are able to see if something happens. The professionals go out in their boats. They sell the catch of the night in the morning at the different shop.
In the middle of July the town celebrates, together with the fishermen, the festival of "Madonna del Carmine", protector of the fishermen.
You find several excellent fish restaurants in Terracina. We highly recommend "Antipasto di mare", a speciality with many different plates of seafood. The fish soup is delicious. However you must often tell the restaurant one day in advance if you want the soup.
In southern Italy most people prefer fish to meat. In the north it´s the contrary. It´s either grilled, fried, cooked or baked in the oven.
To make a fish soup you have to use different sorts of fish, cook it in tomato sauce with garlic and herbs. You also find a lot of fried fish and shellfish served only with lemon.
Now, as well as 2000 years ago, oysters are luxury. Mussels are much less expensive and more common. The Venusmussel, vongola in Italian, is the main ingredient in the famous "Spaghetti alle vongole". In many menu, you also find "octupus". Shrimps, seawater crayfish and scampi are also very common.

The first mention of the phenomenon “PIZZA”, is in a book from 1858.
The author describes it as " something where you can put what ever is available", add oil and cook it in the oven. The book tell its traditions in Naples, where the pizza was born.
The first and most classical is "the Margherita". It was originally made for Queen Margherita in the 1880.
It contains basil, mozzarella and tomato sauce. Green, white and red. The Italian flag. In 1905 it appeared in New York. Some Neapolitan immigrants opened the first pizzeria outside Naples.
In the 1960 the first pizzeria opened in Northern Europe.
The Roman pizza differs from the origin. The dough is thinner.
In Terracina you´ll find both kinds, depending from which restaurant you choose.
Many pizzerie have "FORNO A LEGNA" because only in this kind of oven, you can get the right very high temperature, 400° degres... and the most delicious pizza.

Mozzarella is the famous cheese produced in Campania and southern Lazio, the main ingredient for a genuine pizza. It´s also one of the three elements of the typical “Caprese” ,in which the other two are tomatoes and basil.
It´s extremely delicate and should be eaten immediately. But it preserves the taste a couple of days if you keep it in its package and put it in the refrigerator.
There are two kinds. One made of cow milk and the other, the "real" one, made of the milk of the black water buffalo.
Cow-mozzarella, "fior di latte", is much cheaper. “Mozzarella di Bufala” generally is more expansive and it has a stamp which guaranties its local origin.

Lazio is also famous for artichokes. In vegetable markets you can choose between almost three or four sorts there are. For example Romanesco (big and round without thorns), Catanese (oval without thorns), Violetta di Toscana (medium sized with a very mild taste). In Sezze, a small town just 35 km far from Terracina, artichokes have a special festival in springtime.
In ancient Rome the artichoke was named Cynara because of a girl with that name who was transformed in an artichoke.
During the 16th century it was said that the artichoke had therapeutic powers. For example it had a healing and cleaning influence on the blood.
Since masses of people demanded it, the price rose and led to it being a vegetable which only the rich could afford.
Nowadays the prices makes it available to everyone. The Italian name is "carciofo" and it comes from the Arabian word "kharshuf”.

In Italian "fragole".
In the areas surrounding Terracina there are huge plantations.
If you visit the fruit-and vegetablemarkets in Rome, you´ll find lots and lots of Terracina strawberries.
They are famous, with a wonderful, sweet taste.

Lazio wine district is much more important than you may think. 30 million square metres are covered with wine plants from the north to the south of the Region. Mostly white wine is produced here.
One of the grapes with tradition from ancient Rome, Falerno, about which Plinio said that it had therapeutic qualities, disappeared for a number of years, but has now returned to the market. It was very popular 2000 years ago and later wa the favourite of the Russian tsar and the Swedish king in the end of the 18th century.
In the last century, 95 % of the grapes in the Falerno vineyards was destroyed by a parasite and the production disappeared for about 50 years.
Villa Matilde, a vineyard a couple of km within the region of Campania is now the only exsisting vineyard that follows the full concept from the plant to the production of the Falerno.
A very popular white wine is "Moscato di Terracina”. It´s very suitable as drink on the terrace in the sunset or after a nice dinner. It doesn’t go well together with food.
Passito from Terracina (an extremely sweet wine) was recently appointed the best passito in the world, in a competition held in France.
A vineyard just outside Terracina is Sant´Andrea. They have also a wine store in one of the mainstreets of the town.
A well known wine from Lazio is "Est!Est!Est!" from Montefiascone. Colli Albani and Castelli Romani are two other famous white wines from Lazio, as well as the Frascati wines from the area south of Rome. Other famous wine districts in Lazio are Cerveteri, Cori and Velletri.

Probably we can thank Abbesinian and Arabic goats for the coffee. Shepherds noticed that they behaved surprisingly vivid after eating leaves from the bush called "kif" or "koffe".
Later Arabs developed a method which combined this quality with the need of tastefulness that was necessary to make it into the social drink that it is today.
The holy book of Islam, the Koran, prohibited alcohol, but nothing was said about the effects of coffee, so the habit of drinking coffee spread rapidly throughout the whole Arab world. In Mecca the pilgrims drank coffee so that they could be able to walk the last tiresome steps to the Kaba.
The first coffeehouses were opened in Damascus and Constantinopoli and during the Renaissance the first coffee beans were shipped to the Christian world.
In Venice in the 17th century the authorities were forced to limit the number of coffeehouses to 206, due to the fact that in a short time 25 new coffeehouses had opened only in Piazza San Marco.
The moral and religious problems with coffee drinking was been taken care of by the pope Clemens VIII who gave coffee its blessing.
In 1937 Achille Gaggia invented the first espresso machine. Italian coffee in general and especially the espresso is said to be very strong. That is totally wrong. The beans destined to the Italian market are roasted in a stronger way than the beans sold to the market in Northern Europe. This special method makes the taste appears more strongly, but reduces the amount of caffeine.
So, it´s better for your health to drink Italian coffee.
In an Italian coffeehouse you find for example:
ESPRESSO (means fast, rapid): is called "caffè". You drink it very hot with a lot of sugar. Its cream shows that the coffee machine is working with the perfect temperature and under the right pressure.
CAPPUCCINO: espresso mixed with foaming milk. Got its name from the colour of the cloth in which the Cappucine monks are dressed.
CAFFÈ LATTE: espresso with hot milk.
CAFFÈ CON PANNA: espresso with more water with whipped cream on top.
CAFFÈ CORRETTO: coffee with alcohol, either mixed into the coffee or in a special glass together with the coffee.
CAFFÈ MACCHIATO: means "spotted" coffee, since a very small amount of milk is added.
CAFFÈ LUNGO: the hot water is run through the filter a couple of more seconds than when you make the espresso. Has a more bitter taste.
CAFFÈ DOPPIO: two espresso in one cup.
CAFFÈ RISTRETTO: twice as strong as an ordinary espresso...
Italian coffee is not expansive; the price for one espresso is about 80 cent / € 1,00.

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