Calabria Traveling Market: Buying Pecorino, Capocollo, ‘Nduja, and Pancetta from the Back of a Car

In Calabria, some days you go to the market. On other days you’re innocently typing away on your computer when you hear the cry of “Formaggio formaggio formaggio paesanoooo!” outside.

On those days, the market has come to you. So you grab your wallet and camera (no need for keys — you can just leave those in the lock in the front door), and head outside to see your choices.

Here was the selection yesterday morning:

This is all homemade and handmade locally by the seller and his wife.

Here he is weighing my capocollo and pancetta:

Yes, I decided to splurge and get pecorino, capocollo, and pancetta. Paolo and his friends have been working hard in our campagna (which means they need food up there every day) and most of his family is also around this month, so it’s good to have reserves in the house for drop-ins.

Homemade “paesano” salumi and cheese doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth every centesimo. Still, the guy could sense my reluctance to part with my euros (may have been due to my price-haggling), so he threw in a big chunk of ‘nduja for free. You can see it a bit in the upper left of this photo:

What’s that? You’re not familiar with ‘nduja (ahn-DOO-ya)? Guess I’ll have to write a blog post about it, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s a Calabrian treasureΒ  — an uber-spicy, spreadable sausage that works well on everything from bruschetta to pasta.

And if you want a refresher course on the differences between pancetta, capocollo, our beloved suppressata, and more, check out Vince Scordo’s Guide to Cured Italian Meats: Salumi.

How would you enjoy the pecorino and salumi I picked up at the traveling market?

27 Beans of Wisdom to “Calabria Traveling Market: Buying Pecorino, Capocollo, ‘Nduja, and Pancetta from the Back of a Car”
  1. Gil

    Getting to eat such great and fresh meats and cheeses sounds so good. Thanks for mentioning “nduja” as I now have something to bug my Calabrian friends with!!!

    Haha, enjoy Gil πŸ˜€

  2. 08.04.2010

    What a post! This looks so good my head’s spinning! Can’t wait for my first trip to Calabria — and only hope I can stick around long enough to hear the β€œFormaggio formaggio formaggio paesanoooo!”

    I hope so too, Stephen! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  3. 08.04.2010

    Oh …. sigh. Cold, with rain promised, and no one to sell me cheeses and things here in Antwerpen. Looks delicious, Michelle.

    Thanks Di…someday you’ll be here to enjoy them πŸ™‚

  4. 08.04.2010

    I want the Calabrian truck to stop by my house too! I love ‘nduja. Here’s what I did recently with a hefty hunk:

    Yum! Thanks for sharing Elizabeth πŸ™‚

  5. 08.04.2010

    Hi Michelle,

    I’ve read about your blog many times in other blogs but just really follow it since lately. And I love it! I have a big heart for Italy and all it’s little details and try to visit as often as possible. This year it will be Puglia in 2 weeks time. Your blog is for the times in between πŸ™‚

    Many greetings from Germany,

    That’s so sweet Toni; thank you!

  6. 08.04.2010

    Loved this, reposting!

    Thanks Danielle!

  7. 08.04.2010

    What luxury! All we get are broom sellers around here… “donne! scoppe! scoppe!” How many brooms do they think we need? Much better to splurge on homemade cheeses and salamis! πŸ˜‰

    Too funny as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a broom seller! They really should branch out and explore the rest of the south πŸ˜‰

  8. 08.04.2010

    What a cool way to get your cheese etc…. I had Nduja at the Borough Market in London.. very tasty .. πŸ™‚

    Wow, that’s great, Anne; I wouldn’t think London would be a prime place to find it!

  9. 08.04.2010

    Yum! I’m so jealous! I want a little man to come sell me cheese and sausage at my home!

    Haha, I don’t blame you, Kalee!

  10. 08.04.2010

    Lovely cheeses! That pecorino looks great. We would eat the salumi and pecorino with good homemade bread…

    Mmmm just what we’re doing πŸ™‚

  11. 08.04.2010

    You’re really fortunate, we only get a fruit truck here. We also get the broom sellers that Saretta mentioned. I’d trade them both for those salumi.

    He doesn’t come very often, this guy, but it’s a nice treat. We get fish every week though!

  12. 08.04.2010

    You get that beautiful food walking right by your house! All you need is a bread and a wine vendor and you have instant awesome meal.

    Luckily the bread and wine aren’t very far either πŸ˜‰

  13. 08.04.2010

    How cool!! I wish we had a truck like that in my neighborhood. Oh and I can’t wait to read your post about the nduja.

    It’s definitely a perk of living here, FH!

  14. Claudia

    My idea of heaven is when I wake up in the morning anmd there’s a cheesemnger at my door. Never happened. Awaiting the post on ndjua – don’t know it at all!

    Haha…looking forward to writing it, Claudia!

  15. 08.05.2010

    I just love that you can leave your keys in the door! It all looks so wonderful.


    I love it too Teresa; thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  16. ah, you cut off his face! what beautiful cheeses!

    Yes, it was on purpose — privacy and all that πŸ™‚

  17. 08.05.2010


    Oh how I miss those traveling markets in Calabria. I wish we had them here in California. I did a post on ‘nduja last year as it was the hottest topic here in the US. Here is the link:
    Everybody is trying to make it here but there is nothing like the real ‘nduja from Spilinga. I can’t wait until September when I will be there to eat the real ‘nduja.

    Thanks for sharing that link, Rosetta…and enjoy your ‘nduja πŸ™‚

  18. Ah doo ya! I’ll take two. Love it. I just remember the guys and food in the south of Italy were incredibly warm, wonderful, inviting and real. You are a lucky girl, Michelle, just taking life by the horns and living it.

    I’ve never heard of spreadable sausage, nduja, but I’m willing to bet it’s better than the US counterpart.


    You’ll have to come down here and try it Julie!

  19. Lisa

    I’m jealous, too. However, on a recent trip to Philadelphia I did buy and bring home excellent fontina cheese and suppressata from Di Bruno’s on 9th Street.

    Love DiBruno’s! Enjoy πŸ™‚

  20. 08.07.2010

    That looks wonderful. I couldn’t be more jealous. It just reinforces my long-term goal of living in Italy. I have never heard of nduja but it sounds like the italian sister of andouille (AHN-du ee). Interesting. Can’t wait to try it.

    I think they’re related indeed, Amy! Hope you get to come over here πŸ™‚

  21. 08.07.2010

    Can’t say we have a cheese vendour who comes around here.
    Funny too what you say about leaving the keys at home. The other day I left the keys in the car with the windows right open and when I came back it was of course still there!

    I wouldn’t say it’s something you should do *all* over Calabria, but it’s fine in my part of my little village πŸ˜‰

  22. 08.09.2010

    Would love to reach into the computer screen and pick out one of those beautiful cheeses!

    I have to say, that pecorino WAS tasty πŸ˜‰

  23. Nell

    I must of missed this one while I was in a trance or something, but how envious are we, the only thing I hear outside my kitchen window is that teenage terror down the street and his remote control car eeeezezezezzezezze ezezzezezze ezezzezez, there is no pecorino, or any salmi of any type. My husband brought a piece back from our capital of Canada Ottawa when he went to run the marathoon there his millionth or soi it seems, but thats another story. Any how its was to die for and coarse black pepper through too.
    Do you also get Ricotta salada as well from this guy?
    Lucky woman ….thats all I’m saying.

    He didn’t have it that day, but maybe he does on other visits; I’ll have to check πŸ™‚

  24. 08.15.2010

    Ah, ‘nduja. Marco always brings some back from Diamante. Of course he always brings some back from Eataly, too, which is just about as good!! It’s true, I’d never heard of it at all!

    Good tip for those looking for ‘nduja in northern Italy, thanks!

  25. 10.04.2010

    That had to be fun! I’m still looking to get my hands on some nduja just to try it out. One of the local Italian stores makes some small batches on occasion so I just have to get on the list or show up at the right time.

    I hope you can find some Mike! Enjoy πŸ™‚

  26. Daniel

    Ah! So lame I am kind of far to get those cheeses. I guess once I travel to Calabria I may get to the market or just wait in the hotel while the truck arrives.

    Hope you can find some, Daniel!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



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