No it’s, not just pizza, and no, Mario around the corner in Malmesbury doesn’t do it as good as they do it in Italy. You cannot travel to Italy without trying a good ol’ Italian pizza.
Pasta is certainly a staple starch for Italians and the reason you need to try a pasta when you’re there is because they are so particular about how they prepare it. Italians take great pride in making a delicious pasta and they don’t even break a sweat doing it – it’s second nature.
If the pasta is not al-dente it get chucked away (okay, not always, but sometimes) and it is always prepared with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Our favourite ones include spaghetti alla carbonara, cacio e pepe, pasta alla norma, pasta al forno, and lasagne.
In many countries, risotto seems like a really fancy dish which takes hours to prepare. Not for the Italians.
In fact, it’s often a go-to meal because it requires basic ingredients that most Italians always have in their homes – rice (Arborio or Carneroli varieties), onion or celery, stock and then whatever else you have in the fridge, be it carrots, peas, or mushrooms. It’s almost hard to believe that those simple ingredients can result in such a creamy, luxurious dish!
When in Italy, you simply have to try a Sicilian speciality called arancini – aka freshly-fried rice balls. You can find these starch bombs in bars, restaurants, and market stalls all over Italy, but the best ones will certainly be in Sicily.
The Sicilian arancino (which translates to “small orange”) is quite large, and either conical or circular in shape. It is typically filled with ragu and some sort of cheese, with optional veggies like peas, mushrooms, or eggplant. If you want one that’ll make your toes curl, make sure it’s freshly fried when you order it.
Not much to say here… If you don’t eat a gelato on your trip to Italy, you may as well have stayed at home. Because did you really go to Italy if you didn’t eat gelato?
When seeking out fresh, artisanal gelato, keep an eye out for a couple of things: before purchasing, inspect the color (does it look natural or neon?). Consider whether the fruit flavours are in season (they should be). Check if there is an ingredient list on display. Also, keep in mind that artisanal gelato is slow-churned, though now usually stored in covered, silver, round containers. So steer clear of those trays of wavy-topped gelato containers with gelato so neon bright you need sunglasses to look at it.
The deceptively simple Tiramisu is probably the country’s most beloved dessert. Legend has it that this delectable no-bake parfait, featuring alternating layers of soft, sweetened mascarpone cheese and coffee-soaked ladyfingers, was first made in the 1960s in Treviso by Roberto Linguanotto, owner of Le Beccherie restaurant and his apprentice, Francesca Valori, whose maiden name was Tiramisu.
Even though it may be simple to make, not everyone can make a good Tiramisu. You can’t go wrong by ordering from Fermi deli in Treviso (+- 30min from Venice).
Book your spot on our next Italian tour in April 2019 and experience this divine food explosion for yourself!