Autumn in Sila, discovering the Sila Potato PGI

The Sila Potato PGI and itineraries in Sila
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© Regione Calabria

Food and wine

Ready to head for the Sila National Park, the largest plateau in Europe, and taste one of Calabria's tastiest branded products?

Autumn in Sila is the time of the Sila Potato PGI, an unmissable mountain delicacy to be enjoyed au naturel, cooked and seasoned, or as a basic ingredient in some of the most appetising recipes of Calabrian gastronomy.

Her Majesty, the Sila Potato PGI

The Sila Potato PGI is a delicacy not to be missed, cultivated and cooked as it should be in its places of origin, straddling the provinces of Cosenza and Catanzaro, particularly in autumn, when the entire Sila plateau pays homage to it with dedicated festivals and offers it to visitors in a thousand ways.

The Sila Potato belongs to the Solanum tuberosum species, cultivated in these territories since ancient times as a great resource for local communities. In the 1950s, it was protected by the establishment of the Silan Centre for the Multiplication and Selection of Seed Potatoes and, with the passing of time, it became one of the top potatoes in Italy in terms of breadth of processing, obtaining the coveted PGI mark.

What are the characteristics that make the Sila Potato so irresistible and recognisable? First of all, the soil is ploughed in autumn and/or spring and completely drained of water stagnation; sowing runs from the beginning of April until the end of June, while harvesting begins in August and lasts until the end of November.

Patate della Sila
Regione Calabria

The autumn harvest is the best time to taste this appetising product at the various Sila Potato PGI festivals held on both the Catanzaro and Cosenza sides of the park, such as the annual Potato Fair in Decollatura (CZ).

There are many varieties of Sila Potato: Agria, Ditta, Marabel and Nicola, with yellow skin and flesh; Majestic with yellow skin and white flesh; Desirèe with red skin and yellow flesh.

How best to enjoy the Sila Potato? Either au naturel, cooked in the ashes with the whole peel, boiled and seasoned simply with oil and salt, or in typical Calabrian recipes in which it plays a leading role: first and foremost, the Silan recipe for 'mpacchiùse potatoes, with or without onion, and the traditional dish of pipi e patati, which is widespread throughout the region.

Patate e peperoni
Regione Calabria

Hike in Sila National Park

Between the dense forests inhabited by the Wolf of Sila, the park's symbolic animal, and the large clearings cultivated with Sila Potato PGI, there are trekking and sightseeing trails for all tastes.

What to do and see in Sila in autumn? Authentic villages, visitor and habitat centres for flora and fauna, theme museums and ancient monasteries.

The guided hikes along the Park's Trails (including the CAI Trails) are suitable for experts and beginners and pass through several Nature Reserves, including "The Giants of the Sila" in Fallistro, 50 colossal pine trees and 5 maple trees over 500 years old, and the "Golia-Corvo" Reserve, a dispersal and habitat area for around 150 deer.

Giganti della Sila
Regione Calabria

The other Biogenetic State Nature Reserves are: "Gallopane", "Tasso-Camigliatello", "Poverella-Villaggio Mancuso", "Coturelle-Piccione", "Gariglione-Pisarello", "Macchia della Giumenta - S. Salvatore" and "Trenta Coste".

Not to be missed are the trips to the Silan lakes (Cecìta, the largest and with the greatest water flow, Arvo, Ampollino, Ariamacina, Passante and the small Savuto), on foot, by boat, by bike and on horseback, and the visits to the park's numerous museums, from thematic ones to the ecomuseums of trades, including the Visitor Centres and the specific Environmental Centres of the MaB Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lago Cecita
Regione Calabria

The Sila National Park also offers the traditions, history and folklore of Sila's historical centres and villages, which combine the taste of typical gastronomy with the magic of some sacred places, such as the unmissable Florense Abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore (CZ), a mystical place linked to the figure of Abbot Joachim and destination of the Joachimite Way.

Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 15, 2024 11:42 AM