Calabria's Black Gold: Liquorice from Rossano

Discovering Liquorice of Calabria PDO
Liquirizia Amarelli

© Di Betty&Giò - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Food and wine

Feb 16, 2024 11:31 AM

From the depths of the earth to the big screen with the film Radici. L'oro nero della terra di Calabria (national premiere in April 2022), directed by Fabrizio Bancale, Liquorice of Calabria PDO tells an ancient story, both family and collective.

A story that starts from an ideal territory for the growth of the precious root, which is widespread in different areas of the region, but which in Rossano, in the province of Cosenza, next to a perfect habitat meets the passion of the Amarelli family, which for generations has been transforming it into a product of excellence, among the most renowned and appreciated.

There is no doubt about it, the best liquorice in the world is made here! Known as the "Black Gold of Calabria", it is one of Calabria's best-loved PDO products. So, let's get to know it closely...

Its scientific name is Glychirrhiza glabra, also known locally as "cordara", a leguminous plant with succulent roots. The mild climate and saline soil favour its spontaneous emergence in places less than 650 metres from the sea. 

The first liquorice factory in Calabria was established in 1715 thanks to the Duke of Corigliano. At the same time, other companies were established in the Sibari area, including Amarelli in Rossano, which began to expand in the 19th century to reach markets all over the world. 

Amarelli Liquorice is the absolute star of the film mentioned at the beginning, screened in the presence of Pina Amarelli, president of the "Giorgio Amarelli" Liquorice Museum, one of the city of Rossano's symbolic places.

Known for thousands of years as a digestive remedy and blood pressure regulator, liquorice is now the focus of the gourmet cuisine of the young Calabrian chef Daniela Forciniti, known as the "Liquorice Chef" for her innovative recipes, as well as the more traditional liquorice liqueurs and desserts.