After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Goths and Lombards invaded Abruzzo. Finally the Duke of Benevento annexed it and eventually it became Campania. Through the 16th century, Molise was actually part of Puglia, but it was eventually absorbed with Abruzzo to create the overarching Abruzzi region. It remained part of this combined region until 1963.
Perhaps the most apparent difference between Molise and Abruzzo is in their respective cultures. Molise has tended to be much poorer throughout history than has Abruzzo. As a result, the currency in Molise was not money, but livestock. Because of this, the livestock that was raised was more valuable to sell in Abruzzo than it was to eat. This is why many of the dishes typically served in Molise are vegetarian.
Beans, potatoes, grapes, and olives are the main crops of the region. In the region’s cuisine, pasta factors prominently and, like Abruzzo, the use of olive oil is liberal. When people in Molise need to eat some comfort food, they opt for p’lenta d’iragn, which is simply polenta with potatoes and wheat, topped with tomato sauce.
Molise can boast no DOCGs and only has four DOCs. Of these DOCs, the most well known is Biferno, which makes blends of Montepulciano and Aglianico in either red or rosé style. Sangiovese is also planted here and accurately demonstrates that the wines from this region tend to show a more youthful, approachable character than those from their northern neighbor.
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