Italy is home to some of the best food and wine in the world. With centuries of rich culture, Italy has perfected many of our favorite comfort foods and rich desserts. These specialties have made their way across the globe, but nothing quite beats the fresh taste of local, authentic Italian food straight from the source itself. Here is a list of five foods you should be sure to include on your trip of a lifetime to Italy!
For many, pizza has been a staple food for decades, but Naples is the best place to find the real deal. The people of Naples were the first to enjoy modern-day pizza, when bakers began topping their flatbread with tomatoes brought over to Italy centuries ago. One of Naples’ traditional specialties is the Margherita pizza, a thin-crusted pizza topped with locally grown tomatoes, freshly sliced mozzarella, and fresh-pressed olive oil. These simple ingredients are fired up in the oven for just over a minute, and then finished off with some fresh basil, taking this ultimate comfort food to the next level.
Some of the best and most traditional Italian pastas come from the nation’s capital, Rome. With shops and cafes at almost every corner of the city, finding the perfect pasta dish is inevitable. One of our favorite’s is cacio e pepe, a Roman spaghetti dish made with cracked black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Of course, Rome has many additional favorites to offer such as carbonaras, fettuccine alfredo, and the classic spaghetti Bolognese.
With a vast amount of coastline and many neighboring islands, Italy is known for having access to some of the freshest seafood around. In coastal communities such as Cinque Terre and the Amalfi coast, as well as the island of Sicily, world-famous tuna and mussels are caught daily and made a part of the mainstream cuisine, topping some of the coast’s favorite pastas, soups, and stews.
After a busy day of sightseeing, there’s nothing like a cold, refreshing treat like gelato. Gelato is a custard-based frozen Italian dessert with flavor varieties ranging from fruity flavors to pistachio and even chocolate-hazelnut. Luckily, this sweet treat can be found all over Italy, but is most commonly found in the streets of Florence.
In addition to gelato, Florence is home to some of the best steak dishes in the country, most famously, the Florentine steak. Florentine steak is a traditional dish made from an extremely flavorful cut of Tuscan beef that is lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked over red-hot coals. This simple steak is sure to steal the show at any dinner, especially when paired with some pasta and a glass of Chianti.
As the Italian’s like to say, “mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto”, or eat well, laugh often, love much. Next time you’re in Italy, be sure to cross these must-have foods off of your Italian bucket list.
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