Italy’s produce is arguably unmatched. With each region specialising in its own dish here’s your ultimate foodie guide
Enjoying local cuisine is one of the best ways to get to know a new destination, and Italy offers an exciting array of foods. Here’s our quick foodie guide to Italy…
Italy is renowned for its glorious food. Authentic Italian pasta, glossy home-grown olives, fresh Alpine fish, and mouth-watering desserts. Good food is at the heart of Italian culture, bringing family and friends together. The food is as spectacular as the landscape, from the natural backdrop of Italian lakes, to the inspiring coastal views of Sorrento.
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One of the best things about a holiday to Italy is that you’re guaranteed to eat well, with fine cheeses, cured meats, risottos and filled pastas on every menu, but with so many amazing foodie hotspots to choose from, it can be difficult to pick just one to visit. Italy offers a foodie experience like no other, so to help you choose your next destination. Here’s our top foodie suggestions for each region.
Risotto in Lake Como
When it comes to Italian food, it’s the ingredients that make it so special. The fresh herbs to home-made pasta, Italian produce is unmatched. Every town has its own family recipes and secrets that are passed down through generations. The Lake Como region is renowned for its freshwater fish and one type that is popular with local fisherman is perch (pesce persico) which is a delicate, lean, white and flavoursome fish.
Every town has its own family recipes and secrets that are passed down through generations…
Lake Como offers an array of mouth-watering local dishes, but we suggest that you try the Risotto with Perch (Risotto con pesce Persico). This dish is a perfect combination of local resources (perch fish) and the famous Lombard regional dish (risotto). It has a rich, buttery texture and is best accompanied with a dry white wine while you enjoy the stunning lakeside views.
Pizza in Sorrento
When we think of Italian food, our mind instantly arrives at pizza. Although, Italian cuisine is incredibly varied region by region. You can order a pizza anywhere in Italy, but you’ll experience the best pizza in the Sorrento region.
Nowadays, you can order almost anything on a pizza, but a traditional pizza typically has a few, high quality ingredients. In the late 1800s it is thought a Neapolitan pizza maker, Raffaele Esposito, produced the Pizza Margherita, a hot flatbread topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil to represent the Italian flag.
it’s how you eat it that really makes for an authentic experience. Pizza is best bought from little street stalls and eaten immediately standing in the closest piazza
The food is as spectacular as the landscape in Sorrento, and often it’s how you eat it that really makes for an authentic experience. Pizza is best bought from little street stalls and eaten immediately standing in the closest piazza. The city has street-side pizza stalls, where you can buy them by the slice, but if you fancy a more relaxed experience, there are also plenty of eateries where you can settle in with a glass of wine and a whole pizza and watch life pass you by.
Olive oil in Tuscany
Olive oil has always been a popular commodity. The Greeks, the Romans, even the Egyptians cultivated it and appreciated its many uses. In Italy, olive oil is so much more than just something to drizzle over your salad. It’s an essential ingredient for every meal.
Tuscany is considered the classic olive oil region of Italy and the creation of olive oil is almost a sacred process there. Lucca and Chianti have some of the most well-known olive oils of the region. Lucca is located close to the coast and the oils in this region tend to be yellow, light, and fluid. The olive oils of the Chianti regions however tend to have more of a green colour and are often spicy with hints of pepper. Italians drizzle olive oil on pastas, meat and even vegetables to add flavour to their meals.
Spaghetti carbonara in Rome
When in Rome, you should do as the Romans do and try some of the capital city’s traditional cuisine. From the humble trattoria to the grander ristorante, Rome offers a great choice of places to eat and drink. Food in Rome is known for being simple, flavoursome and satisfying.
If you ask anyone from Rome, they’ll tell you that spaghetti carbonara belongs to Rome
Throughout the ages, chefs in Rome have tried to stick to century old traditions. Most meals are prepared with a few simple ingredients used in creative ways. Roman cuisine continues to be full of character and reflects the Lazio region’s local delicacies. If you ask anyone from Rome, they’ll tell you that spaghetti carbonara belongs to Rome.
Over the years, other countries have added their own ingredients to the popular dish but the traditional carbonara that originated in Rome is still made with only the simplest of ingredients: fresh eggs, pecorino cheese, guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) and high-quality dried pasta. Contrary to popular belief, there is no cream in the traditional carbonara dish in Rome…so you can afford to eat even more of this tasty dish!
Cannoli in Sicily
Sicily produces many beautiful regional dishes thanks to its abundance of fresh seafood and vegetables. It is famed for pasta dishes such as pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines) but one of its most popular (and scrumptious) dishes is a dessert.
Sicilian cannoli are tubes of deep-fried pastry filled with a sweet creamy filling, usually ricotta, and dusted with powdered sugar or crushed nuts. They can be bite-sized or even as long as your hand. There are various types of filling and toppings – all delicious and very good with a sharp espresso. It’s thought that cannoli were originally prepared as a part of the Carnevale festival that’s celebrated in the region in February, although nowadays the dessert is enjoyed all year around. The Ballarò market in Palermo is a favourite spot for cannoli and there are many specialty Italian pasticceria that produce the authentic dessert.
Feeling hungry yet? Explore these foodie hot spots and more with this great range of holidays to Italy. Return flights, accommodation, transfers and excursions are all included on Travel Department’s Italy holidays. Their expert local guides will be available throughout the tour and can provide recommendations for the best sights to see in Italy during your leisure time.
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Lana can usually be found spinning her collection of records, or writing odd poems in her phone notes. Her mixer of choice is a ginger beer, and you’ll never find her away from the sea for more than a few weeks.
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