The 10 Most Iconic Foods to Eat While in Italy
You are 100% sure you know Italian food, are not you? You already know pasta, pizza, meatballs, coffee and pastries. You know what to expect when it comes to Italy ... except that ... when you arrive in Italy, you realize things are somehow different. Food is extremely localised by Regions and what is typical in Naples is not necessarily good in Venice. The cuisine is far more varied than the set of standard dishes you find in Italian restaurants all over the world .
In short, let's find out what to eat in Italy during a first trip. I also will put the links to the recipes that can explain in short and simply how to prepare the dishes at home.
1) GELATO - ICE-CREAM
Pistachio ice cream is an Italian classic together with Stracciatella. Creamy and slightly salty, the pistachio ice cream is an excellence between the different artisanal ice cream flavours. Loved by young and old, it fits into various combinations with cakes and fruits. The recipe for pistachio ice cream is easy to make at home, here I also explain briefly how to prepare it even without the ice cream-maker.
2) TIRAMISU - Pick-me-up cake
Tiramisù is among the most representative desserts of Italian patisserie in the world. An exquisite and irresistible dessert, prepared in its classic version with ladyfingers, mocha coffee and mascarpone cheese. Here is a quick recipe where we will suggest some variations in case you can not find all the exact ingredients (click here for the recipe)
3) FARINATA - Chickpea Pancake
The farinata is a pancake made with chickpea flour, used as an alternative to bread, originally from Liguria, and now listed among the most appreciated street food not only in the land of origin. It is naturally gluten-free. The origins of farinata are lost in the mists of time ... Possibly the farinata dates back to Roman times: since wheat flour was a luxury that the soldiers could not afford, they prepared a mixture of chickpea flour and water which they then cooked in the sun, using their shields as Pans.
4) PIADINA - Flatbread Sandwiches
The piadina romagnola, once the food of the poor, today is counted among the traditional Italian agro-food products of the Emilia Romagna region and is famous all over the world. It consists of a thin sheet made of flour, lard (or olive oil), salt and water with a rounded shape, which traditionally was cooked on a plate placed directly on the embers. The piadina can be stuffed in any way, even sweet, but the classic is rocket, ham and squacquerone cheese (a spreadable cottage cheese).
5) TAGLIATA - Italian grilled beef steak
La Tagliata di Beef is a very tasty meat dish usually served with rocket and parmesan flakes. Very easy to prepare.
The cuts of meat chosen to make this simple recipe are sirloin, fillet or entrecote of beef and usually come from valuable breeds such as Chianina or Piedmontese. In the United States you can use equally excellent breeds such as Angus or Hereford.
6) PEPERONATA - bell peppers and onions stew
The peperonata is a tasty side dish, very colorful and rich in nutrients but poor in calories. It is nice to use yellow, red and green peppers just to create that game of colors typical of this dish.
It is a Mediterranean dish that goes well with meats, cheeses or on the bruschetta, accompanied with steamed rice or couscous.
7) FOCACCIA BREAD
Homemade Ligurian focaccia is easy and quick to eat at any time of the day and to be used instead of bread. Excellent simple and delicious stuffed, with salami, mortadella, ham and any kind of cheese or vegetables. It is a typical specialty of Ligurian cuisine and the tradition of its ancient preparation is ingrained in the area.
8) ARANCINI - Sicilian Rice Balls
The Sicilian deep fried rice balls are officially recognized and included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products of the Ministry of Agriculture, as Sicilian street food.
There are many versions of arancini (masculine noun in Catania) or arancine (Feminine Noun in Palermo). They vary in shape and size from area to area. In Palermo they are of considerable size and often rounded, in Catania they are smaller in size with shapes that identify the filling: - flat base and pointed cone with meat sauce - round shaped with butter - egg-shaped with ham, mushrooms or spinach
Often in the Catania area saffron is not added to the rice, but is white or takes a light red color from the tomato sauce. The name and the appearance of this street food is inspired by the citrus fruits and the composition accounts for various historical influences present in the area: the Arab one for rice and saffron, the French one for meat sauce, the Spanish one for tomatoes and the Greek one for the cheese.
Abbacchio, or suckling lamb, has been a Roman springtime delicacy since ancient times, and today this dish is often served for Easter celebrations. The lamb is seasoned with a garlicky paste that includes anchovies – these lend a salty, savoury kick and are the modern replacement for garum, a fermented fish sauce widely used in Ancient Roman cuisine. We’ve used a leg of lamb here in place of suckling lamb. The #Abbacchio Romano has been included in the list of Protected Geographical Indications (#PGI).
10) LIMONCELLO liqueur
Limoncello is a liqueur from Campania region, in particular from the Amalfi coast, made with lemon peels with an alcohol content of about 30%. It is a sweet liqueur, with a characteristic gold color, which is obtained by macerating lemon peel in pure alcohol with the addition of sugar syrup. The preparation requires an infusion time of about one month. It is consumed at the end of meals as a digestive but can also be used to dump and flavor sweets and ice creams.