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Flavor of the Week

Calabrian, a fruity, smoky flavor from Southern Italy

The descriptor “Calabrian” on a restaurant menu usually denotes a Calabrian chile, a type of red chile from the region of Calabria in Italy’s south — the toe of the great Italian boot as it appears on a map.

Calabrian chiles have a fruity and smoky flavor with a heat level that can vary from medium to spicy. Their flavor is appearing on more menus — 27% more than four years ago, in fact — as U.S. consumers explore more regional European cuisines. The flavor is also attractive to a growing number of Americans who enjoy a little kick of heat in their food. Adding a place name adds an air of romance to it.

According to market research firm Datassential, 17% of the U.S. population has tried food with the Calabrian flavor, and it’s best-known among vegetarian/vegan consumers, Gen Z, and Asian consumers.

Click through the gallery to learn more about Calabrian food and see how one restaurant is using it on the menu.

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