Reggio Calabria – Swordfish

Swordfish is a typical dish of Calabrian cuisine in the province of Reggio Calabria. It is the most requested fish and the protagonist of the city’s gastronomy, not only for the delicacy of its meat, but also for the folkloric ritual that characterizes its fishing. In fact, one of the most attractive shows consists in attending the fishing trips of the “passarelle” or “spatare”, the characteristic and rapid boats specialized in hunting swordfish in the blue waters of the Costa Viola.

They are led by the helmsman and sighter who balances himself on a high flagpole where there is also the formwork. The metal trellis of the flagpole is from fifteen to twenty-five meters high. There is a metal bridge emerging from the bow of the boat, the gangway, from where the harpoon, warned by the sighter, with his harpoon vibrates the fatal blow to the prey.

The swordfish is a fish up to four meters long and sometimes even three hundred kilos heavy. It has a dark gray color above and silver below. It feeds preferably on cuttlefish and squid. It has a delicate, rosy and very nutritious flesh. The sword that represents the extension of the upper jaw is a long and flattened appendage which the fish uses as a weapon of attack and defense. Swordfish is also a fast swimmer, easily reaching speeds of over seventy kilometers per hour.

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