Distinctive local gastronomy is typically Mediterranean, with some peculiarities, and ranges from buffalo mozzarella and local seafood to Neapolitan pizza and also wild boar, olive oil and cheese from the inland.
Gaeta is a fishermen village. Not surprisingly, seafood is abundant and fresh, and prepared in many different ways. Maybe, the most famous is the Acqua Pazza ("Crazy Water"). It's a whole fish baked a bath of seawater, sea salt, white wine and cherry tomatoes, and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. The saltwater preparation renders the fish absolutely moist and flavorful.

Acqua Pazza
Probably, the Queen of Gaetan cuisine is the Tiella, the typical fisherman food, that resembles a stuffed pizza. It can be made with a number of stuffings. Typical stuffings include diced octopus with parsley, garlic, oil, hot pepper and just enough tomato slices for color. Other stuffings include escarole with capers and pineseeds, or egg and zucchini. There are several "Tiella masters" in Via Indipendenza, but probably the best Tiella can be tasted on the Lungomare, at "La Voglia Matta": Mino, the owner, has learnt the secret for making great tiellas from his grandmother, and he's the one we turn to, when my grandmother doesn't have time for cooking.


Another Gaetan food is the Caniscione. It is a crescent-shaped fried calzone, stuffed with fresh cheese and other ingredients, like fresh tomatoes, olives, ham, basil leaves, depending on the personal creativity and taste of the cook.


The town is also notable for its distinctive brand of olives, marketed throughout the world.

Gaeta Olives

A typical dessert is the Sfogliatella, made of countless paper-thin layers of flaky pastry with ricotta and candied fruits filling.


Another popular dessert is the world-famous Neapolitan Babà, a spongy cake soaked in Rhum. It exist in the cake-version, and also in the smaller one-portion version, that has the shape of a mushroom. It is very appreciated, to the point that when the locals want to say that something is really lovely, they say "è 'nu babà!" (meaning "it's a babà!").


The Pastiera is a local cake stuffed with ricotta cheese, wheat grains and candied fruit, and the pastry smells deliciously of orange blossoms oil.