A Sea to Love,
a Hinterland to Savor



Our area is rich in typical flavors which make Melissa and Torre Melissa the ideal destinations for those wishing to appreciate or discover ancient products and the traditional dishes of Calabria. Discover all our recipes and local naturally grown produce of high quality, and come and try them in one of our characteristic restaurants.


Have you ever tasted our sun-dried tomatoes or delicious limed olives? Try some of our most famous local specialties: guaranteed goodness!

Sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes

Wash the tomatoes very carefully: if they do not come from organic farms, add some sodium bicarbonate to remove all the impurities. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them on tulle cloths previously laid in the sun. Place some pans underneath to catch the water draining from the tomatoes. Place another cloth over them to ward off undesirable insects. Salt each piece of tomato with a little more salt than you would normally use to season a salad: salt is important because it facilitates the drying process, but don’t overdo it! After about six hours under the sun, the tomatoes will start to form a thin white film: this means that the drying process is successful. Gently scrape off this film with a fork: this will help the organic water still in the tomatoes to seep out and will facilitate the drying process. Once this is done, take the tomatoes indoors and then repeat the process for at least six or seven days. Usually, after six or seven days the tomatoes will be perfectly dried and their flesh will be hard and wrinkled. All you have to do then is put them in a jar to preserve them!

Alternatively, leave the tomatoes under the sun for about six to seven hours a day, from between five to seven days, depending on the weather (we recommend from early July to mid-August). In the evenings, take them indoors, away from humidity and nocturnal insects. Remember to place them under the sun again. If the tomatoes accidentally become too dry, you can still turn them into powder or flakes to season your dishes.
Limed Olives

Limed Olives

The best variety of olives for this recipe is the so-called “Carolea” one. They are harvested when green and placed in wooden tubs. For every 4 kg of olives you need 1.7 kg of quicklime and oak wood ash. The latter two materials are dissolved in water and then the olives are added. After resting in this water for a day, the olives are then washed carefully from time to time for two to three days. They are then put into tubs and covered with fresh water with 100 grams of salt for every kilo of olives. Fennel seeds, laurel leaves or myrtle twigs are also added.
Local Melissa D.O.C. Wine

Local Melissa D.O.C. Wine

Working the soil and principally the vine is the economic activity which mainly characterizes the Melissa area, a land of wine going back to ancient times. The red and white varieties of the Melissa DOC wine are very well-known. The Municipality of Melissa is a founder member of the Associazione Città del Vino, since 1987.
Extravirgin olive oil

Extravirgin olive oil

Among the agricultural produce of the area, special mention must also be made of olive oil, and particularly the oil of the Marchesato di Crotone (the Marquisate of Crotone).

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Read these traditional recipes of Melissa and try them for a Sunday lunch or a feast day!

Stuffed aubergines (eggplant)

Stuffed aubergines (eggplant)

  • 4 aubergines
  • 300 g minced meat
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 150 g mozzarella cheese
  • 30 g parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • basil
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
Wash the aubergines and cut the ends off. Cut them in half lengthwise and, using a knife, cut around the edges to remove all the flesh: keep this aside for the moment. Place the aubergine boats into an ovenproof dish. In a pan, brown the garlic in a little olive oil, add half the aubergine flesh, cut into very small cubes, and then cook for a few minutes. Remove the garlic and add the minced meat to brown in the pan. Now add the tomatoes, previously diced, and then stir and cook for another few minutes: season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the flame and then add the mozzarella cheese, previously diced, the grated parmesan, chopped basil and the egg, and mix all together. Spoon this mixture into the aubergine boats. Pour a small cup of water on the bottom of the ovenproof dish, sprinkle the stuffed aubergines with the breadcrumbs and then bake for about 40 min in the oven at 180°. Leave the aubergines to become tepid outside the oven before serving.
Iron needle produced macaroni with kid meat sauce

Iron needle produced macaroni with kid meat sauce

For the macaroni pasta
  • 500 g durum wheat flour
  • 250 g still natural water
For the sauce
  • 100 g sieved and drained cow ricotta cheese
  • cherry or date tomatoes (or, alternatively, tomato puree)
  • 1 small red onion (Tropea variety)
  • fresh basil
  • grated pecorino o parmesan cheese
  • chili pepper
  • extravirgin olive oil
Pour the flour onto a pastry board, forming a characteristic heap with a hole in the middle. Gently pour the water inside the hole. Using a fork, slowly mix the flour and water; when all the water has been absorbed, use your hands to knead the dough for a few minutes. When the dough is homogeneous, wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for at least 30 min. After that, cut the dough into long tubes and wrap them one at a time around a knitting needle, previously coated with flour, to produce the hollow macaroni. Cook the pasta in abundant salt water and drain when it is “al dente” (firm but not hard). Keep some of the cooking water aside to help mix the macaroni with the sauce and the meat of a kid, previously cooked over a low flame.
Peppers and Potatoes (serves 4)

Peppers and Potatoes (serves 4)

  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 4 green peppers
  • 2 red peppers
  • extravirgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 1 red onion (the Tropea variety)
First, peel the potatoes and the onion, wash all the greens and cut them into irregular chunks. Remember to deseed the peppers. Thinly cut the onion into rings or strips. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large pan over a medium flame. When the oil is hot enough, add the peppers and potatoes and cook for about 20 mins. In the last 5 mins of cooking, add the onion: to make it go soft but not brown, cover the pan until it is done. Transfer the potatoes, peppers and onion to a dish containing kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil, and serve as a side dish. If some is left over after the meal, don’t worry! You can keep it in the oven or in the fridge (on a hot day): served cold it is a real treat!
May bread

May bread

  • 500 g fine-ground flour
  • 25 g beer yeast
  • 2 spoons olive oil
  • 1 spoon salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 250 g water
  • 1 handful of dry elder flowers
Mix the flour, salt, oil and beaten egg on a pastry board. Add the yeast, previously dissolved in a little lukewarm water. Finally, add the elder flowers. Knead the mixture firmly to obtain a soft and elastic loaf. Place the loaf into an oil-greased pan and leave to stand for about 2 hours. Finally, bake the loaf for about 40 min in a preheated oven at 180°.
Buon appetito!


  • kg 1 whitebait
  • 50 g. ground chili pepper
  • 50 g. ground sweet chili pepper
  • 250 g approx. salt
  • Wild fennel
Wash the fish carefully several times in a large bowl and change the water every time. Use a sieve to remove them each time: since the fish are very small, it will avoid dispersing them. Continue rinsing until the water is clear with no froth. Leave the fish to drain properly for a few hours. Place the fish into a glass or clay jar that has a very large rim. Alternate layers of fish with layers of salt. Close the inside of the jar with a wooden or cork top, or by using some other material suitable for foodstuffs, such that it covers the contents completely. Place a weight on the cover so that the salt will dissolve and the brine will rise to cover the top, thereby assuring an airtight seal. The salt will mature the fish in five to six months. Once this maturation process is over, drain the brine and carefully squeeze the fish pulp. Season with the chili pepper – both hot and sweet varieties – and with the wild fennel, and then whisk in a blender to a smooth paste. Place the paste in a glass jar making sure you cover the surface with extravirgin olive oil to seal from the air. This delicious gastronomic specialty is excellent on pizza, pasta and bruschetta, inside rice croquets, and to season other fish dishes in general.

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