Experience Real Italian Cuisine – Beyond The Pizzeria
- There is so much more to Italy than pizza and pasta, in fact too much for one blog, but here’s a look at some of what you could experience on your next trip.
If you take a look at pre-conceptions on a country’s food and culinary traditions, how much of that will turn out to actually be adapted for your own culture? Some might say that has happened a lot with Italian food – pizza and pasta is readily available on just about every High Street in the UK, so naturally, many people assume that this is all that Italy has to offer.
Of course, this is certainly not the case. Italian has a wonder variety of amazing food on offer, so look beyond the pizza and pasta and check out some of the best places in Italy to experience real food culture.
Country Hotels Known For Their Food Offering
Guardian Travel produced a handy guide to hotels recommended for their food. Italian hospitality meets pretty and inspiring scenery, and some tasty dishes to boot. Some of their suggestions include:
Agriturismo Casa Clelia, near Bergamo – A working farm in the Lombardy region with taster menus including spinach crepes, and roast beef served with fennel and orange. Child friendly retreat with gardens, orchards and woodland to explore.
Il Rigo, San Quirico d’Orcia, Tuscany – A place with a reputation for fine food that also runs foodie courses for guests. Pretty bedrooms with stunning views, and meals in the welcoming dining area all make for a great stay. Sample 60 local wines, and dishes including rabbit with saffron.
Ca Alfieri al 30, Govone, near Asti – Piedmont – This stood out for its breakfast offerings of homemade cakes, juices, salami and cheese, and because it’s close to Alba, you’ll be in a prime location for October’s White Truffle Fair.
Gelato – Italian Ice Cream
Put aside all your pre-conceptions about ice cream, as gelato truly is a dessert on a whole other level. Italy really know their stuff when it comes to ice cream, and they do a pretty good job at sorbet, granita and shaved ice as well. It may be a popular export, but for authenticity and sheer variety of flavours you need to head to an ice cream parlour in Italy. Make sure it’s one that serves up fresh gelato using natural ingredients.
There are so many places to sample good quality gelato, but here’s a few suggestions from ‘Walks Of Italy’ that you might want to search out if you’re planning an Italian holiday:
La Boutique Del Gelato – Verona – A mix of traditional flavours and off the beaten track suggestions. This place mixes up gelato using anything from fresh dates to khaki fruit, and there are wine sorbets too!
Otranto – Naples – Fresh and high quality ingredients, with milk and some other items coming direct from Campania. Classic flavours and seasonal Neapolitan additions.
Vivoli – Florence – A famous gelaterie in the city that makes its gelato same day. The flavours change all the time but you could find chocolate and orange, or pear and caramel.
What Else To Look For
You may have spent years buying goods marketed to you as ‘Italian’ but your favourites may not exist in Italy – so what should you look for if you want to sample real cuisine across the country?
Bruschetta al Pomodoro – Italian alternative to garlic bread, this is toasted and rubbed with a small portion of garlic, but then its topped with delicious fresh tomatoes – great as a snack.
Cacio E Pepe – A traditional Roman pasta recipe that is simple yet very tasty. Just pasta swirled in fresh black pepper, olive oil, and a helping of Pecorino Romano Cheese.
Cavallucci – pastries that are made with candied fruits, almonds, and anise.
Seafood – Sample delicious fish dishes in Italy’s river/sea regions, including seafood pasta in Sicily which could include swordfish or sardines.
Sampling different foods while on holiday can be an adventure, and as with all adventures abroad, make sure you talk to Avanti travel insurance, as their travel policies will provide you cover in the event of an accident, ill health or other unexpected event while travelling.
If you want to learn more about authentic Italian cuisine, why not consider a foodie holiday. One sample itinerary we found on the web offered the chance to find and dine at hole in the wall style eateries, stay in a vineyard, learn to make regional dishes, and taste traditional aged balsamic vinegar – all while taking in the sights and sounds of Rome, Venice, and Bologna.
These types of holidays all feature local guides, local food and recipes, and a valuable insight into the food of the region – taste, try, and make – what better way to discover there’s more to Italy than pizza and pasta!