The typical products which form the basis of Calabrian gastronomy are numerous. Among them, there are mushrooms, which from the end of the summer and throughout the autumn are born and grow under pine and beech forests of Sila, as well as within the national park of ‘Serre Calabre’. Among masters in the art of selecting and processing the 'king of the wood', there is the company Serfunghi Calabria, whose owner is Luigi Calabretta. It was established in 1964, when Raffaele Calabretta, present owner's father, returned from France and began marketing both fresh and semi-processed mushrooms. Luigi Calabretta explains: «My father became an expert picker, drying Porcino mushrooms spreading them on nets and letting them stay for a few days in the sun. Later he tried to preserve other types of mushrooms in water and salt, obtaining very good results».
Whole or cut Porcino mushrooms, mixed mushrooms, honey mushrooms, chanterelles mushrooms, mushrooms from moss: all these varieties are picked by hand by expert people, with the utmost respect for the environment. They are carefully selected and processed, following the oldest recipes of Calabria, and preserved in many versions: natural, in oil, dried, powdered, or frozen.
Not only mushrooms
But also eggplants, marrows, olives, peppers, red onion from Tropea, artichokes, tomatoes, spices which are used in order to prepare sauces, appetizers, patés: the appetizer 'Antipasto Serrese' with oil, green tomatoes, dried tomatoes, peppers, olives, eggplants, artichokes, salt, oregano; the roulades prepared with eggplants ‘Involtini di melanzane’, with olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, olives, garlic, parsley, vinegar, pepper, oregano, salt; 'Olive Monacali alla Contadina', with sunflower seeds oil, garlic, fennel; 'Fantasia Tropeana': IGP red onion from Tropea, olive oil, hot pepper, salt, vinegar, natural flavours; ‘Lampascioni’ (wild onions), with olive oil, vinegar, pepper, garlic, wild fennel, salt, laurel leaves, oregano, mint; the processed garlic 'Aglio in olio d’oliva' with red pepper; 'Giardiniera del Contadino' with vinegar, salt, carrots, cucumbers, marrows, peppers, small onions, cabbages, turnips, onion; 'Condiriso', oil, peppers, meadow mushrooms, artichokes, small onions, cucumbers, carrots, corn, olives, capers.
In this production, red pepper, too, is noteworthy: ‘Ciliegie Calabresi Ripiene’, with hot peppers, olive oil, anchovies, dried tomatoes, olives, salt, vinegar; 'Peperoncino al Tonno', with hot peppers, olive oil, tuna, olives, salt, vinegar; 'Bomba alla Calabrese', with hot pepper, olive oil, eggplants, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, onion, oregano, natural flavours; 'Bomba Serrese con Miccia', with hot pepper, olive oil, eggplants, mixed mushrooms, porcino mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, onion, oregano, natural flavours.
Serfunghi produces liqueur, too, with porcini mushrooms and bitters with officinal herbs.