The Neapolitan Ragù

The neapolitan Ragù (proun. [raˈɡu]) is certainly one of the fundamental dishes from Napoli’s cooking tradition. It is the typical dish to be eaten on Sunday. It isn’t simply “carne c’ ‘a pummarola” (meat & tomato sauce), like Neapolitan theatrical actor and director Eduardo de Filippo said the Ragù takes much time to be perfect…much time. It has to be cooked for many hours to reach that characteristic solidity and strong taste, it has to “pippiare” how the Neapolitans say. In fact, tradionally the Ragù is prepared during saturday night to be ready for the lunch of Sunday, with a slow heat in a pan of clay and with a wooden spoon.

THE RAGU’ TODAY

But nowdays, in the lighter preparation, also four-five hours are sufficient. The fundamental ingredients of the Ragù are the tomato sauce, added in onions browned after softly frying them with extra-virgin oil. In Naples the Ragù has to be directly prepared with beef meat , which is the perfect second course together with the ziti or candele spezzate pasta. If you taste the Ragù, forget the good manners, the “scarpetta” is a must, so tast last sauce in the dish with a piece of bread!
A simple dish but with an unique taste.

‘O rraù is not a recipe, but an ancestral symbol, a ritual that goes from gastronomy to the most authentic bond that unites the Neapolitan people with its own food.

The Best Wine Bars in Naples

History, stunning sea-scapes, amazing cuisine and pizzas, laid-back Italian life; Naples is famous for many things, and you can add wine to the list. The city is home to numerous wine bars and enoteca, popular with locals, tourists and a mixed crowd. We pick the top wine bars to visit when in Naples.

Blind Pig – Hideout Drinkery

An unconventional retro style bar in Naples’ hidden alley and you know how much we love retro style!
Enjoy the excellent music selection and craft beers, wines, cocktails and spirits. The whole staff is friendly and this really cool spot is just perfect to relax and to drink like a Napoletano. It is also possible to eat delicious dishes to go with your drinks. The Blind Pig is waiting for you!

Vico 2° della, Vico Quercia, 8, Naples, Italy +39 081 6337278

Enoteca Belledonne

A popular bar with both locals and tourists, Enoteca Belledonne is a definite must try when visiting Naples. Situated in Chiaia, this bar offers a range of both food and drink specializing in both local and international wines. Dishes include bruschetta and spaghetti with meatballs. Surrounded by many small boutiques and restaurants, this is located in one of Naples’ up and coming areas and is worth a visit if you get the chance.

Vico Belledonne a Chiaia, 18, Naples, Italy +39 081 403162

Spazio Nea

Nea is one of Naples’ most unique bars. An art gallery by day, Nea is dedicated to contemporary works and features paintings and sculptures by international artists dating from the second half of the twentieth century. However, this space is also home to a wine bar that serves delicious wine indoors and outdoors. With numerous magazines and catalogues placed on the tables visitors can relax and enjoy some peace and quiet after a hectic day. The artistic setting makes this a fabulous place to unwind after a busy day.

Via S. Maria di Costantinopoli, 53, Naples, Italy, +39 081 451358

Wine Boat Wine Bar

At the entrance of the room of Wine Boat you will find a boat-shaped counter, climb to the 2nd floor where you will find the air-conditioned room with tables for wine tasting. A wine lover and a Sunday drinker will welcome you to Quartieri Spagnoli of Naples for a trip through Campania. Crew will make you discover wonderful wines like Falanghina, Fiano, Greco of Tufo, Aglianico, Taurasi, …

Vico D’Afflitto, 39/40, Naples, Italy, +39 3381355254

Libreria Berisio

This midcentury bookshop doubles as buzzing cocktail and wine bar, its wine-red interiors drawing a predominantly young, international crowd. Sip a well-crafted negroni while browsing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves…or the cute peeps in the crowd. Oh Berisio…so charming place!

Via Port’Alba, 28-29, Naples, Italy, +39 081 5499090

Caseari Cautero

it is true, in this case we are not in a real wine shop, but in a gastronomy, but it is practically impossible not to mention the point of sale of Salvatore Cautero among the best for its careful and careful selection of wines. It is the only Neapolitan gastronomy with a showcase dedicated to wines and champagne so rich. Therefore, in addition to exhibiting high quality products of gastronomy, Salvatore will also be able to show you the perfect wine.

Piazzetta Pontecorvo, Naples, Italy, +39 081 19179449

L’Enoteca Del Grottino

This is truly a magical place for wine lovers, remains hidden from the eyes of tourists and for this reason it is up to us Neapolitans to make it known.
The wines of the enoteca del Grottino are many, all of which are prized and mostly of Campania origin. Highly recommend tasting them accompanied by traditional dishes.
The prices are slightly high, but given the excellent quality and the value of the wines it is more than understandable.

Piazzetta San Giuseppe Dei Ruffi, 17, Naples, Italy, +39 081 449101


Traditional dishes and food in Campania: best recipes from the region.

Mild temperature, fertile soils of volcanic origin, favorable exposure. Always. It is no coincidence that the ancient Romans baptized the region around Naples and Vesuvius Campania Felix – happy, and not just because it is kissed by the sun. To the ideal climatic conditions for healthy food Campania add a widespread passion for good cooking: the result today is that not only in Naples, but in the whole region, you can go in search of excellent recipes and typical dishes from Campania cuisine.

Campania products: vegetables and fruit

The inhabitants of Campania, before becoming pasta eaters in the eighteenth century, were known as “leaf eaters.” The “leaves” before the discovery of America were above all chicory, escarole, and broccoli; some of the latter varieties grow still today only in the countryside of Campania, especially in Salerno: friarelli, for example, a particularly tender broccoli with a bitter vein. Then, in the late 1600s, eggplants and peppers appeared in Campania recipes, and then, finally, tomatoes found their ideal habitat in this region. Choosing from the regional agricultural production, we’ll mention the beans of Alife, Acerra and Controne, the very sweet onions of Aversa, the fleshy peppers of Nocera Inferiore, the potatoes of the Mates and the sought-after Ottaviano peas. For fruit: the peaches and the velvety apricots of Vesuvius, the strawberries of Afragola and the Sele plain, the Annurche apples from Marano di Napoli, the exquisite “giant” walnuts from Sorrento and the precious hazelnuts from Avellino and Benevento.

Artichokes from Castellammare

The plain at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, an agricultural area known since Roman times, gives us one of the most interesting products of Campania: the artichoke from Castellammare, also called Castellammare violet or Schito artichoke. This artichoke is distinctive because of the color of the outer leaves, the violet shades, and its early ripening, which takes place between February and April. Although the plant produces several inflorescences, only the mammolella – i.e. the first apical shoot – is protected by local peasants with small terracotta cups called pignatelle, which keep it particularly tender. The other artichokes of the plant are sold locally, at a lower price, while the last shoots, the “grand-children” are preserved in oil. Precisely for its harvest in spring, the artichoke of Castellammare often appears in the Easter menus of Campania traditional cuisine, often stuffed and stewed in casserole.

Neapolitan Papaccella

For many Neapolitans, the sour smell of the papaccella preserved in oil immediately triggers memories of the holidays: it is a guaranteed presence on the most typical Campania recipes, as well as being one of the main ingredients of the rich salad that is eaten on December 26th. It is a small and slightly crushed pepper, with a fleshy pulp and a ribbed shape. It has an intense flavor, well defined and sweet, but in some areas of the province, spicy versions are also cultivated. The papaccella is cultivated mainly in the Vesuvius territory, in particular in the municipality of Brusciano. Its wide range of colors and shades – from dark to bright red, from dark green to yellow-green, up to a wine shade – creates a unique spectacle on the stalls of Neapolitan markets. In addition to preparations in oil or in vinegar, the papaccella is often inserted in special Campania recipes to prepare pork dishes, or stuffed and baked in the oven.

Desserts

Those who go to Naples must not miss visiting one of the excellent pastry shops in the city and have breakfast with a flaky, freshly baked sfogliatella: one of the most celebrated Campania desserts, its thin and crispy wrapper contains a creamy filling made of semolina and ricotta, flavored with orange, cinnamon, and vanilla. It seems that the sfogliatellas were created in the monastery of Santa Rosa in Amalfi, which developed, among other things, a variant: the “santarosa,” enriched with cream and black cherry. In 1818, Pintauro gleaned its secret and, turning his tavern in via Toledo in Naples into a patisserie, he spread its production in the soft and flaky version. For certain, they are a small miracle for the eyes and the throat. The pastiera, which cannot miss on the Easter table of Neapolitans even if its production is spread out between November and spring, is one of those Campania desserts born from the popular inventiveness: a crust of shortcrust pastry stuffed with ricotta, wheat cooked in milk, candied fruit, orange blossom water, and eggs. Finally, the Baba, a very iconic and regional dish from Campania cuisine: a soft and buttery paste soaked in rum, which is as synonymous with Campania as the view of Naples is with Vesuvius. Though this sweet that has entered into the current lexicon [“you are a baba” is the most common local compliment], is actually of Polish origin. It comes in all sizes: tiny, slightly larger than a thimble, small, large, mushroom-shaped or donut-like, simple or enriched with whipped cream or covered with sour cherries or fresh fruit. Typical of the Christmas holidays are the struffoli: a small mountain of fried dough balls held together by honey and covered with diavolilli (colored sprinkles). If instead you are visiting Benevento, the classic gastronomic souvenir from the city is the nougat prepared with hazelnuts of the “mortarella” variety typical of High Irpinia. The nougat of Benevento, white and solid, is a gluttony of ancient origin: the Latins called it cupeta and Martial quotes it in one of his epigrams. The good taste of this dessert from Campania comes from honey and fine local hazelnuts, which are part of the traditional recipe along with sugar and egg white. However there are historical nougats, between the Benevento and the Avellino area, which offer tasty and refined variations: thin or mignon, with almonds, covered with chocolate, filled with sponge cake and liqueur.

Naples food & drink guide: 10 things to try

The home of every Italian dish you know and love, Naples offers everything from classic pizza and pasta to fresh seafood and powerful volcanic wines

Although you probably already know that humanity’s finest pizza and pasta graces the whole nation of Italy, the culinary history of Naples is notorious, and older than Rome itself. The traditional food in this region is characterised by the simple ingredients of the poorer classes, executed with great skill and a sense of perfection.

Neapolitan street food offers everything from fried morsels of fish, to fried pizza, cheese-filled pastries and even pork offal for the bravest foodies. Restaurant creations of meatballs doused in ragù may be served alongside pasta, cheeses, vegetables and sweets. Naples is a place to forget your waistline and enjoy every culinary masterpiece you find. We suggest you take on the flavours of the city with full force, so eat like a local by following these tips.

Pizza Napoletana

Need we say more? Naples is the motherland of pizza as we know it. Pizza slathered with tomato sauce, cheese and basil existed here as early as the 18th century, but later named Pizza Margherita after the queen of Italy in 1889. The texture should be chewy, the cheese is always mozzarella, and the basil is fresh. Most importantly, look out for a slightly charred crust, the signature of a stone oven.

Where to try: Almost every slice in Naples will leave you in pizza euphoria, but for some of the best of the best, head to Di Matteo (Via dei Tribunali, 94) where you’ll find fried variations, too.

Ragù

Better than the stuff in tightly sealed glass jars in aisle at the grocery store, and probably better than your grandmother’s, Neapolitan ragù pairs with pasta to make the perfect marriage. Chefs start with good, volcanically enriched tomatoes and add meat to create a robust flavour unique to Naples. The sauce is traditionally mixed with pasta of the ziti variety. Just so you know, the town of Gragnano in the Municipality of Naples produces some of the finest grades of pasta in the world.

Where to try: Tandem (Via Paladino Giovanni 51) is a favourite among locals and serves generous helpings of their slow-cooked speciality ragù.

Polpette

Ragù cheats on its partner, pasta, with these tender meatballs that come in twos or threes. Polpette showered in spoonfuls of ragù make a filling, protein-packed meal for any hungry traveller. Throw vegetarianism out the window, forget the noodle bits, and munch on this treasured, spherical meat.

Where to try: Try Neapolitan meatballs encased in sandwich bread at O’Cuzzetiello Panineria Take Away (Via Rimini 51) or find the dish at various restaurants throughout the city.

Impepata di Cozze

It goes without saying that you simply can’t visit Naples without trying the fresh seafood brought in daily. Aside from delicious fish and squid dishes, make room for Impepata di Cozze; a simple bowl of mussels prepared with tomatoes, peppers, and white wine. Chunks of bread soak up the juices at the end.

Where to try: Trattoria Da Patrizia (Via Luculliana, 24) is by the harbour and serves a range of seafood dishes.

Cuoppo

Fried foods of all varieties in a convenient handheld cone. The brown paper cups contain fried eggplant and zucchini nestled with items like battered fish and shrimp, golden brown mozzarella bites, and potato croquettes. It may be hard to discern what some of the fried lumps are just by looking at them, but don’t worry; you can’t go wrong with deep-fried Italian food.

Where to try: Il Cuoppo (Via San Biagio Dei Librai 23), the brainchild of brothers Giorgio and Andrea Sangiovanni, hands cones of cuoppo stamped with their blue logo to sidewalk strollers every day of the week.

Panino Napoletano

Many compare the panino or panini to its other toasted sandwich cousins, but these Italian sandwiches find a special place in the hearts of those who purchase them in Naples. Panino Napolitano looks like a cross between a sticky iced bun and a calzone. Thick bits of pancetta and molten provolone ooze out the sides of this dense street food, making it a holy trinity of meat, cheese, and bread.

Where to try: Try Panino Napoletano at any of the dozens of kiosks and stands that sell the sandwich to take-away.

Sfogliatella

This shell-shaped pastry shows off its paper-thin folds in glass cases at bakeries across the city. Created by monks and first sold commercially by Neapolitan pastry chef Pasquale Pintauro in 1818, these light bites still thrive on the market today. Sfogliatella are baked until the ridges bloom and separate, cooled and filled with ricotta or almond paste, and finally dusted with powdered sugar.

Where to try: Pick up some from Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio (Vico Ferrovia 1/2/3/4).

Babà Rum

Babà of the rum variety are found in patisseries throughout the city and resemble glistening, spongy mushrooms. These tiny cakes are often garnished with whipped cream and berries. To eat appropriately, take an espresso in one hand and a babà in the other; alternate between bites of the confection and sips of coffee.

Where to try: It’s everywhere. Pop into glamour Pasticceria Capparelli (Via dei Tribunali, 327)

Limoncello

A speciality of the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi coast, this neon-yellow liqueur is typically made using grappa infused with the zest of local Sorrento lemons and sweetened with sugar. There are endless homemade varieties, often created in bars and restaurants, and a chilled ceramic cup of Limoncello is the perfect summertime digestivo.

Where to try: The expert liqueur producers at Limoné (Piazza San Gaetano 72) will gladly give you tasters, and this is the place to go if you’re looking to bring some bottles home. If you’re only in the mood for a sip, try any restaurant in the city.

Lacryma Christi

This celebrated wine is produced on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, and archaeologists have declared it the nearest equivalent to the wine consumed in Ancient Rome. It’s available in white, rosé, and red varieties – so there should be one for every occasion! Lacryma Christi has been immortalised in books by authors like Voltaire, Alexandre Dumas, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, so relax with a glass and taste a piece of history.

Where to try: Pop into Enoteca Belledonne (Vico Belledonne a Chiaia 18) or book a wine tour at one of the vineyards on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius outside the city.