Art, fashion, food: this is the holy triad of Italy’s main attractions for the tourists (while the lifestyle is an attraction for those foreigners who want to move to live in the Belpaese). Good taste is a virtue Italians are known for, since forever. And speaking of taste, we can’t help but focus on gastronomy and local food. Italian cuisine is renowned for its simple and yet rich conception, its rural origins, its ability to instill nobility to a wide range of so-called “poor ingredients”, and finally for its variety: every region – but we could even say almost every single town, including the smallest ones – has its own recipe and its own cookbook. From the alpine area to the core of Mediterranean, a visitor has a chance to experience an incredible journey through food culture.
Italian cuisine is also one of the healthiest ones in the world: it’s the epitome of the Mediterranean diet, among the most celebrated feeding regime by doctors and nutritionists. And all of this without ever leaving behind the flavors and the tastiness. Italians love to share, especially food: every family meal is a celebration of conviviality and hospitality. So, when you come to Italy from another country, whether you are a tourist or on a business trip, all you can do (besides organizing properly your journey and stay, for example through professionals like ItalyXP.com) is diving into the most varied and exciting cuisine on Earth. Do you want some suggestions on what you shouldn’t miss? Keep reading below.
The undisputed queen of Italian food. Handmade, with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, oil, salt and fresh basil. Baked in a wood-burning oven and served hot. Simplicity is the keyword, Naples its homeland (but you can find it everywhere in Italy).
Pasta alla carbonara
Uncertain origins for this peculiar variety of pasta: legend has it that Romans “copy” the recipe from American soldiers, who wanted to cook something more similar to their homeland’s tastes, during the Second World War. And after having customized and refined it, they included the recipe into their traditional dishes. Long or short pasta, dressed with a sauce made with raw eggs, black pepper and Roman pecorino cheese, and finally enriched with crunchy chopped guanciale (cured pork’s cheek, similar to bacon).
Pasta al pesto alla genovese
This peculiar pasta was conceived by Liguria’s inhabitants, and became famous especially among the Genoa Port’s sailors. Its originality is in the seasoning, a raw sauce made with fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic and coarse salt. All the ingredients are manually crushed in a mortar (no mixers, blenders or other electric stuff), until they become a grainy and dense dressing.
Fritto misto di pesce
Italy is surrounded by the sea, therefore fish is one of the main sources of proteins for many local communities. Among the countless fish-based recipes that you can find in Italy, we choose the most classical one: a variety of small fishes and sea fruits wrapped in a thin layer of durum and fried in hot olive oil. The recipe vary significantly from region to region, mostly because not all the seas that surround Italy are populated by the same species of fish. But the ones that couldn’t be missing, no matter which part of Italy you are, should be shrimp, anchovy, mullet, baby cod, band-fish and squid.
A proper conclusion of every meal. A dessert as simple as it is yummy. Savoiardi (a variety of biscuits with a thin sugar icing) dipped in coffee and aligned in a casserole, garnished with a cream made with mascarpone (a creamy cheese with a gently sweet taste), eggs, sugar and Alchermes (a sweet spirit often used in pastry creations). Everything covered with a generous dusting of powdered bitter cocoa. Again, simple but tasty: you don’t have to cook or bake anything, the only fire you’ll have to use is the one to make coffee.