In Italy, eating and drinking are a sacred ritual that no one can miss. It is an intense and passionate love story anyone can live.
Waiting increases desire and Italians know it quite well. When they are not eating they talk about food and when they are eating they still talk about food. Putting all stereotypes aside, every meal in Italy is the result of a careful preparation, to create the perfect balance between seasoning, spices and herbs and enhance the taste of even the most simple dish. Italian cuisine is appreciated and imitated (maybe without the same results) by people from all over the world.
The recipes are handed down from father to son, from mother to daughter. The secret of Italian dishes is their simplicity and the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients. It is no coincidence that the Mediterranean diet, with its many specialties, was included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
If you want to learn Dante’s language, just choose a good restaurant and order the masterpieces of Italian enogastronomy. Once you learn the basic phrases, you can pack up and leave for the beautiful country.
The entire world speaks Italian when talking about food, but translating the names of all products is simply impossible. Just think about pasta and its many types, such as Ziti, Penne, Farfalle and Fusilli. Everybody knows pizza, bufala, gorgonzola (also known as blue cheese), balsamic vinegar, Parma ham, even if they do not speak Italian.
Without any doubts, maccheroni and cheese is the most popular Italian specialty in the world and Parmigiano Reggiano, with its unique taste, is appreciated throughout the world. But be aware: there are also many imitations, known as “Parmesan”, “Parmesao” or “Reggianito”. In this case, speaking Italian will help you make the right choice.
However, words are just words and if you are hungry, we recommend trying as many Italian specialties as you can, once in Italy. From Northern to Southern Italy, the country offers a wide range of incredible products, including Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products, mozzarella from Campania, caciocavallo silano, white figs from Cilento, onions from Nocerino and San Marzano tomatoes. As for wines: Aglianico del Taburno, Taurasi and il Greco di Tufo.
Now just eat, drink and repeat all names of the foods that make Italy so great: learning a new language is a piece of cake!
The food culture of the country of “La Dolce Vita” deserves at least an Academy Award. Many movies, indeed, show Italian feasts, lavish lunches and dinner tables, since food is one of the most amazing things of this country: people meet to eat and to talk and, on holidays, older women still prepare many different and tasty dishes for the entire family to forget about war and famine.
Starters, first courses, second courses, side dishes and fruit. All dishes are prepared with typical Mediterranean ingredients, such as pasta, legumes, fish, white meat and seasonal vegetables. Then, of course, there are also delicious desserts, such as babà, cannolo, Sicilian cassata, sbrisolona, fruit tarts and pastiera.
In all classic “Spaghetti Western” movies, actors eat pounds and pounds of beans, a simple dish also served in Naples with pasta and mussels. In “Miseria e Nobiltà” Totò fill the pockets of his jacket with spaghetti and pasta is also the protagonist of a memorable scene from “An American in Rome” were Alberto Sordi does not resist a succulent dish of macaroni. Lasagna, made of fresh layered egg pasta sheets and stuffed with Bolognese meat sauce, mozzarella and minced meat, is Garfield’s favourite dish. In “Eat Pray Love” Julia Roberts tastes all Italian specialties, including linguine with clams and Carbonara spaghetti, sauce meat and ice-cream, gaining weight without any concern. In “The Great Beauty”, awarded the Academy Award in 2014, we find finger food and aperitifs served on the terrace, as well Ligurian style rabbit.
Of course, real Italian cuisine and patisserie are definitely better than movies!
The best way to know Italy is to drink a glass of one of its incredible wines. This is because each glass contains centuries of history. This ancient beverage will leave on your lips the taste of remote conquests, first with the Greeks who imported vines in Italy, then with the Romans who grew them also beyond the Alps. The aftertaste that characterise these wines is that of passion of and commitment, the same passion and commitment of those families that dedicated their entire life to their vineyards. From Barolo to Chianti and Pantelleria, the fruity and floral aromas are those typical of Italy. A sip of wine tells the whole story of a people who love and respect their land.
Ripe grapes are harvested, then the must is fermented in the cellars and wine ages in wooden barrels and sleeps soundly. Patience and wisdom to create fine Bardolino, Brunello, Falanghina, Primitivo di Manduria, Negroamaro and many other wines.
Italy is among the top wine producers in the world. The taste of a unique land, between the sea and the mountains, accompanies the toast of millions of people.
Adjectives like fruity, full-bodied, intense are not enough to describe Italian wines. We still refer to ancient sayings, like the Latin “in vino veritas”, “good wine makes good blood”, or “wine makes the elderly dance” and “good wine, long table”. Drinking wine is a pleasure, but drinking it with someone is better. That is how many songs, as well as tarantella, serenades and odes to beautiful women were born and stories were told.
The glass half full is a source of inspiration!
Those who do not want to get lost in a new city use a map, taking buildings, monuments and churches as reference points, while others just use their sense, especially smell and taste. The inner compass of these big eaters will point to inns, restaurants and especially to the many kiosks selling the popular Italian street food.
Eating in the street is the best way to taste the real flavour of ancient Italian recipes. Traditional dishes, prepared with simple ingredients can satisfy even the most demanding palates.
Italians just need flour and yeast to prepare pizza, piadina, grespelle, gofri, cannoli and crescentine. Italian street food is not just “easy”, fast and cheap, but is also incredibly tasty.
To orient yourself through the alleys of the major centres of the beautiful country, just follow the scent of grilled and fried food.
In Sicily gourmets will be attracted by the smell of “stigghiole”, veal or lamb skewers or that of “panini con la milza”, a sandwich sprinkled with sesame seeds and stuffed with veal’s boiled spleen, lungs and liver cooked in lard. Arancini stuffed with meat sauce, peas and caciocavallo cheese, or with squid ink, will be a great mid-day snack.
In Naples, the undisputed realm of leavened products, walking from Piazza Plebiscito to Via dei Tribunali you will have the chance to taste the famous “pizza fritta”, “calzone ripieno” and “Neapolitan sandwich”. Among other specialties we find the “cuoppo” with potato croquettes, “mozzarelline in carrozza”, “pasta cresciuta” with algae or pumpkin flowers and timballo.
In Rome do not miss the fried cod and tripe, in Florence the “lampredotto” and in L’Aquila the “arrosticini”, tasty sheep skewers.
Forget the long queues at museums, get in the queue to taste the real Italian street food!
Taste explorers know that, to taste the best Italian food products and wines just there where they are produced, they have to leave the city and go looking for adventure. To find the most charming wineries and visit fairy tale towns, you must have the courage to take unusual paths. Only in this way, you will have the chance to touch the ripe grapes of lush vineyards, the round or tapering tomatoes of lovely vegetable gardens or the lemons and oranges of fragrant citrus groves. There is only one rule: taste aged wine directly in the cellar, enjoy delicious cold cuts offered by the farms or, by the sea, the fresh catch of the day, such as sea urchins.
In Tuscany you can cycle along beautiful trails in the shade of cypress trees, surrounded by the hills of Chianti and Val d’Orcia. Brunello di Montalcino is not the only wine you should definitely taste along with pecorino from Pienza and wild boar salami.
Puglia is famous for the production of olive oil, caciocavallo and friselle and you will have the chance to take a tour of ancient oil mills.
In Campania, along the entire Sorrento Peninsula, you can enjoy an amazing Limoncello, while the hinterland is the kingdom of Montella IGP chestnuts.
Moving from the Langhe to Canavese, you will be hunting for hazelnuts and white truffles. In Lombardy and Emilia Romagna you should definitely take a walk through the vineyards where Lambrusco, one of the most popular Italian wines, is produced. In Veneto, good connoisseurs will explore the most famous wine producing areas of Valpolicella in Custoza.
In Italy every trip is an adventure to discover incredible flavours that you cannot miss!