Signora Rosa: Our favorite stop for 'bottarga'

When you see the following sign driving on the Via Provinciale per Vibo Marina, between Pizzo and Vibo Marina, then STOP !
 Dalla Signora
   Prodotti tipici

Next to her home, Signora Rosa has a small store, the door is always open, a curtain protects from the sun. You will find a nice choice of local home made mouthwatering products. We love to stop here and buy black olives, sun dried tomatoes, patΓ© of sun dried tomatoes with chili, spicy anchovies,  .... 

Signora Rosa in summer 2012
.... but what we love most is bottarga! Bottarga from Calabria is made of dried tuna roe cured in sea salt. It is also called the "caviar of the South" and it's sold in form of a stick, and you can grate it on top of your spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino! So yummy!
We always buy for us, for friends and for Italian chefs back home ... This bottarga is stronger in taste than the one from more Northern Mediterranean regions. I guess, it is also more salty since the sea down in the South is more salty. 
Bottarga di Tonno ! Our favorite product made in Calabria!
( 7 Euro / 100 gr ) 
Signora Rosa's little warehouse and shop from the street
Singora Rosa in her shop in April 2013, selling us due chili (2 kg)
When we passed by in April, her shelves were almost empty. But the shop was open and Signora Rosa came over from her house to sell us some bottarga sticks. For better transportation in our suitcases we changed the anchovies and sun dried tomatoes from glass jars to shrink-wrapped bags. Actually, I really like the simply styled product label:
Anchovies in chili oil
This small family business has no website, no email address, no colourful brochure. They just concentrate on their skills and on the product quality. They are happy with what they can sell. They live with the season. No need to expand.
However, what la signora has for you is a little paper of bottarga recipes (I usually wrap those around the product which makes the gift perfectly authentic):
(click to enlarge picture) 

(When we are grating a lot of bottarga on pasta, we usually do not add salt into the boiling water, since the bottarga itself is already very salty)

Grocery Shopping in Vibo Marina

Today, I am taking a break from Pizzo and the house and am staying in Vibo Marina with son and mother in law. Actually, we did not stay home but went out for grocery shopping and more:

selection of fresh cheese at the newly opened local minimarket Baldo

selection of pasta - pasta for every day (Barilla) and pasta for sunday (De Cecco) in all kind of forms

selection of local wines (Ciro) starting at around 4 Euro

chili pastes in all kind of versions, sold as "Viagra Calabrese" or "Bomba Calabrese"

the local fish shop with the catch of the day

passing an old house with palm and olive trees (the weather is nice again)

At a local furniture shop I asked for matresses and found out that our bed size 180cm x 200cm is not a standard size in Italy and therefor we would need to order the matresses 180x200 or two by 90x200. One month delivery time and 30% more expensive. I will have to check another shop. But the modern wardrobe on display in the shop might be usefull for storage... I will need to check and measure the space in the house.

And last but not least we stopped by the local barber shop.

our boy gets a very professional haircut for 5 Euro

After lunch break we are going on another shopping tour in Vibo Valentia.

Calabrian Textiles by Bossio

Last February I discovered a shop at the airport in Lamezia, that was selling beautiful textiles from local craft men.

I was fascinated from a white cotton bed cover with a simple red but decorative local embroidery pattern. I liked the shop and started to talk to the sales woman. She gave me a business card from the textile producer with a website address.

Some business men passed by, well dressed in dark suites, on their way back to Rome. One stopped at the shop and said to his colleague: "Look, this is what I used to have in my child's room. This is typical embroidery from my area. My Mamma used to have a lot of these...."

I was impressed. Although I used to come since several years to Calabria, I never saw them promoting local textiles. Of course local products are promoted, like local ceramics and above all local specialities like pepperoncini (chili), Vecchio Amaro del Capo (a herbal liquor that is served straight from the freezer), tuna, onions from Tropea, tartuffo ice cream from Pizzo etc.

Back home I thought I have lost the business card of the shop and all google researches never brought me back the factory name. Only a couple of weeks ago, in a side pocket of my trolley, I discovered the name card and now, I can present the name:

BOSSIO, fabbrica tessile
in Via P. Mancini, 3 - 87060 Calopezzati (CS)
(near Sibari)

I wish I would have taken a photograph from the beautiful bed cover, because the website is not very professional. The pictures are too small and not very attractive. It looks a bit old fashioned (I guess it is) - but this need to be changed!

I think the shop at the airport, that presents some of the textiles is a good step forward. I wish I could be a little helper.

In the meanwhile I will post some of the pictures I have chosen from BOSSIO.

Calabria: Amarelli Liquorice

On this side of the world it is wintertime and cold outside.
I am sitting at the computer (in Beijing) and next to me I have a tiny blue tin of 20 g best Italian liquorice (thanks to my Italian mother-in-law). I thought, I am going to post about this tiny tin.

It is Liquirizia Di Calabria from Amarelli in Rossano. The Amarelli company, founded in 1731, is one of the oldest liquorice (or licorice) producers. And Rossano is a city on the Ionian coast, the other coast of Calabria.

This is my favorite one. A red tin of 40 g pure liquorice. Same like in the tiny blue box.

"Liquorice is an elixir of longevity in Chinese medicine and according to Hippocrates, this root with a characteristic bitter-sweet taste, and vivifying, digestive and throat-soothing virtues, has been harvested since antiquity on the Calabria Ionian coast, where it grows naturally."

Throat-soothing, that's why I am a fan of it. Actually I was not aware of all the other benefits!

I love these nostalgic boxes. I hope Amarelli keeps them that way for ever!

Here I love the design better than the product inside:

The Beach-mare tin contains 20 g of liquorice with natural mint and is colour sugar coated.

The Sassolini are soft liquorice with natural anise and colour sugar coated. They come in a tin of 40 g.

In 2001, the Amarelli have inaugurated the "Giorgio Amarelli" Liquorice Museum which was awarded the Guggenheim Enterprise & Culture Trophy.

More info here:
Amarelli Company
Amarelli Museum
Amarelli history by Henokiens

Photo source: most of them via