12 Foods to Try In Italy
For any foodie, Italy should be at the top of your travel list. In Italy they really celebrate food. Food in Italian translates to ‘Cibo’, and the Italians are really proud of their Cibo. They really celebrate at meal times – each region specializes in something, and boy do they love to show that something off.
In Naples you will find the world’s best Pizza, Sicily provides the most vibrant aubergines and lemons you have ever set your eyes upon and in Abruzzo you will be treated with a dish called ‘Cozze Allo Zafferano’. In my opinion, the best food in Italy is found in Sicily. One of our favourites areas for food is the the Amalfi Coast.
1: Focaccia Bread
Focaccia is a delicious and very simple flat bread. Topped with likes of olives and a good mix of Italian herbs it is one damn tasty simple flat bread. The recipe for focaccia is fairly standard and you will not find many variations throughout Italy. Defiantly a high contender for best food in Italy award.
Without a doubt, the best starters in the world! I mean who doesn’t love grilled bread smothered in rubbed garlic? Our first one in Italy was stale bread out of a gas smoker and it still tasted better than anything we have had before! Variations of bruschetta are endless with the most popular being tomatoes, cheese, onion, cured meats and seasonal vegetables. Bruschetta originates in central Italy but is now very popular throughout all of Italy, some places even give out free bruschetta with a drink!
The perfect accompaniment to bruschetta is caponata. This delicious antipasto originates in Sicily and is a combination of aubergine, olives, capers, and celery. A perfect snack for both vegetarians and meat eaters. In my opinion, the best caponata is found down in Sicily where the aubergines are especially sweet and tasty.
We could not list what to eat in Italy without including burrata. Burrata is a cheese made from dreams. Forget everything you think you know about cheese, this silky smooth creamy cheese will change your life. Burrata only has three ingredients. Cow’s milk, rennet and cream, so the secret here is using fresh ingredients. You will find the best burrata in the region of Puglia where the cheese was created just over 100 years ago.
Translated to “little orange” in English arancini are stuffed rice balls that are coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Region to region the fillings do differ, however, you will typically find them filled with a meat and tomato sauce, mozzarella, and peas. Arancini is a traditional Sicilian specialty originally created somewhere back in the 10th century. If you are going to learn to order food in Italian, arancini is a great starting point.
There is a lot of debate on the original origin of the carbonara. One thing that there is no debate over, is that you have got to try it when you come to Italy. Traditionally the dish is made up of a light eggy sauce, cheese, bacon and freshly cracked pepper. Variations include mushrooms, peas, chicken, and cream. The dish is served with a variation of different pasta including spaghetti, fettucine, linguine, rigatoni, and bucatini.
7: Margherita Pizza
One essential stop on any trip to Italy is Naples. If you are a pizza lover you will absolutely love it, if you are not a pizza lover – things are about to change. Naples is the birthplace of pizza. So you can expect to find every type of pizza under the sun here. Everything from crispy, doughy, chewy, stacked with toppings and the daddy of all pizza, the margarita. Originally made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella fior di latte, fresh basil, extra-virgin olive oil & a pinch of salt the Margherita Pizza is simplicity at its best. Defiantly a top contender for best food in Italy.
Just like carbonara, there is debate over which region first created Gnocchi. A potato based dumpling, which is nothing short of genius. Gnocchi is a perfect vessel for a range of all different types of sauces. From a light tomato based sauce to a thicker, heavy creamy sauce. You really can’t go wrong. You will find gnocchi throughout Italy on most restaurant menus, the best thing to do is ask for the local specialty!
You simply can not pass up eating prosciutto when in Italy. This dry-cured ham is a real Italian speciality. Usually sliced super thin and served ‘uncooked’ Prosciutto is perfect with freshly toasted bread. Recipes do differ from region to region so it is definitely worth trying some in different regions if you are touring about!
For many of you ice cream is the ultimate dessert. I was under this impression before coming to Italy too. Gelato completely blew any ice cream I had ever tried right out of the water. Depending on which region you are in you will find different flavors, some amazing flavors to watch out for are: Pistachio, banoffee and my personal favourite limone (which is super refreshing on those hot days).
No Italian meal would be complete without tiramisu. Originating in Veneto, Tiramisu is a traditional Italian coffee flavoured dessert. Throughout Italy, you will find many different variations, but in my eyes, nothing beats the simplistic original recipe. Do yourself a favour and finish off your Italian dinner right!
12: Panna Cotta
This creamy white dessert is often topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce. It is believed to originate in the region of Piedmont, North-Western Italy. Panna Cotta is super light & fluffy, although it doesn’t look like it can hold its own, it somehow manages to keep itself together just enough to make it from the kitchen, to your plate & finally to your mouth.
Bonus Dessert: Cannoli
Before going to Italy, I had an obsession with the TV series ‘The Sopranos’. In The Sopranos the Sicilian dessert cannoli makes an appearance many times. Naturally, this made me interested in what they were. This traditional Sicilian dessert is fried pastry dough filled with a sweet ricotta based creamy filling. A match made in heaven. You will find the best cannoli in Piana Degli Albanesi.
Top tip: Don’t get a cannoli that is pre-filled. You want to order your cannoli and have the shop fill it to order. This will ensure a crispy outer and a fresh creamy filling. You may have to wait in some more popular shops, but trust me it’s totally worth it.