So you’ve decided to travel to Italy?! Italy is home to 60% of the worlds art treasure, an amazing array of landscapes, and of course, world famous cuisine. Your Italian trip won’t be complete without a taste-test of the local delicacies. Here is part one of The Top 5 Foods You Must Try in Italy (and where to try them!)
Pesto – Is a sauce originating in Genoa, located in the Liguria region of Italy. It is made of Parmesan cheese, basil, crushed pine nuts, garlic, and is blended together with olive oil using a metal mortar (although in modern restaurants the chef often uses a blender). If you find yourself travelling around Liguria, you’ll notice that pesto is quite versatile and used in many different dishes. The traditional pasta dish is “trofie al pesto” and you can get it almost anywhere in the area!
Carbonara – is a pasta dish originating in Rome and often imitated (incorrectly!) in different cuisines worldwide. It is made with eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper, and guanciale (bacon). It is usually served with spaghetti and it has been around since the 20th century! It is said that the carbonara we know now was added to Italian cuisine after the liberation of Rome in 1944, when American troops provided eggs and bacon.
Tagliatelle al Ragu – If you say the words “spaghetti alla bolognese” to someone from Bologna they will faint. This sacred dish from the capital of the Emilia Romagna region is most notably recycled overseas (especially on hotel room service menus). The original dish is strictly made with tagliatelle (not spaghetti!) and homemade ragu. Bologna is not only known for having the oldest university in the western world, but also for its extensive gastronomic tradition. After all, the city’s nickname is “The Fat One” for a reason.
Spritz – This is the only drink to make the list, but it is an important one. If you’re travelling around Italy you may notice bright orange drinks popping up on cafe tables around 6pm. These are the famous Aperol or Campari Spritz and served during the daily Aperitivo hour. The Italian “aperitivo”can be compared to “Happy Hour” although it usually comes with food. Some cafés serve mini snacks while others may have a full buffet! The drink is made with either Aperol or Campari juice and mixed with prosecco and soda water.
Pizza – The list can’t be complete without an invite to try pizza in its country of origin. The term “pizza” was first recorded in an Italian manuscript in the 10th century, however modern pizza was invented in Naples and has been registered as a UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. A trip to Italy cannot be complete without a taste of Neapolitan pizza (no pineapple please!)