Food travel and Italy go hand in hand. A fior de latte mozzarella, sliced and drizzled with a first pressed olive oil. Pesto sauce pounded by hand until the basil, pine nuts and parmesan almost emulsify. Water, flour and salt kneaded and shaped into the best pasta of your life. This is Italy’s food culture. It may sound like a stereotype but it’s absolutely true; Italy is a place where food is life.
Eating Cicchetti In Venice
Venice is home to the Italian version of tapas; chicchetti which are small snacks designed to accompany a small glass of wine known locally as an ombra. Traditionally they were designed to line the stomach when drinking at local bacaris – or wine bars. As with tapas, nowadays they can range from the traditional to the sophisticated. Think Polpette (small meatballs), hard-boiled eggs and small sandwiches with a range of fillings. Almost every bar in Venice will have their version of chicchetti on the bar, ready for you to choose.
Tuscany And Its Steak
Tuscany – particularly Florence – is famous for its beautiful steaks. Bistecca all Fiorentina is similar to a porterhouse or t-bone steak. Traditionally it comes from a particular breed of cattle called the Chianina which is known for its excellent flavour. It’s a celebration of all things bovine. Just salt and pepper adorn these steaks, grilled over hot coals. The steaks are designed to accompany the robust local red wines such as Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino or Rosso di Montalcino, all made from the sour-cherry fruited Sangiovese grape. And there’s no better way to taste the best wine Tuscany has to offer than in a winery – a Brunello di Montalcino wine tasting and lunch is a great introduction to these brilliant red wines.
Devouring Pizza In Rome
Naples may be more famous for its pizzas but neighbouring Rome gives them a run for their money. There are two common types of Roman pizza. Pizza al taglio – or pizza by the slice – with a soft, bread-like base and topped with various ingredients. Then there are the Roman round pizzas that use olive oil in the dough. This makes a thinner, crunchier base than their Neapolitan counterparts. Whichever way you choose to eat pizza in Rome – or indeed if you choose to make it yourself in a Roman pizza cooking class, it can’t be faulted as one of the best foods in Italy’s capital.
Seafood In Sicily
Sicily is blessed with both the sea and a North African influence. Couscous al pesce is a famous example of the meeting of these two cultures, as is pasta con le sarde – sardine pasta with saffron, pine nuts and raisins. Combine any one of these beautiful seafood dishes with a piazza and a local wineand you have the makings of a rather wonderful evening. Or take out the hard work of choosing – you’re on holiday after all – and indulge in a Sicilian food and wine tasting tour.
Getting Lost In Italy’s Food Markets
Italy surely has some of the best food markets in the world. Tables piled high with local vegetables. Formaggerias slice great hunks of parmesan. Salumerias thinly slice prosciutto and salamis. They are the beating heart of all Italian cities, towns and villages and a brilliant way to immerse yourself in local food culture. Find one, buy your ingredients and create a picnic of gastronomic heights. A Tuscan market tour and cooking class could be a good place to start your Italian market adventures.
Italian Food Is About Simplicity And Quality
Italy worships the quality of its ingredients like nowhere else. A country where family feuds can happen over the type of barrels used in the family winery – Italy will always be synonymous with great quality food. If you’re planning to indulge in a Food Travel Italy tour, we have you covered when it comes to hotels, things to do and insider tips. And if you love wine as much as food, our wine travel guide has some great advice on how to handle Italian wine like a pro.