When in Italy, eat as the locals do. This means you should sample a wide variety of foods from premium restaurants as well as the local fruit stands at the morning markets. Italians take their food very seriously, so everything is delicious, especially if you avoid restaurants specifically catering to tourists. Here are a few must-have items while traveling:
Why not start with dessert? Italian ice cream is rich and gooey and usually overflows the cup or cone. There are plenty of flavors that you might not find at your neighborhood ice cream shop and the experience of the tiny cone alone is a fun memory. Be aware, however, that more than one person has become addicted to gelato, especially if they sample it early on in the trip. It might very well become a daily habit.
Italian pizza is nothing like the kind you find in most restaurants back home, even the Italian ones. During your travels, find time to order both an authentic wood-fired pizza and sample take-away pizza or pizza al taglio. Pizza al taglio is sold in square sections by weight at small bakeries and corner stores. It makes a great snack while walking the city as you can have as little or as much as you’d like in a single sitting.
If you stick to restaurants and cafes that specialize in the heavier versions of Italian food you may miss the opportunity to sample one of Italy’s finest dishes – fresh fruit. The best fruit is available at markets. Stroll through the market looking not keepsakes while stopping to sample as many varieties of local fruits as possible.
Fiorentina is a delicious beef dish. In fact, it’s a T-bone steak that is prepared with the flare for flavor and presentation that Italians relish. While in definition a simple steak, the fiorentina is anything but a slab of meat. It’s an experience in its own right.
Cotoletta alla Milanese
A favorite of Milan, the rib of a calf is breaded and fried in butter. The fried rib is then covered in the butter used for frying, or in more modern times, it is coated in lemon or tomato sauce.
It might be favorite in your kitchen at home, but sometimes the most familiar foods are the ones that show us the biggest differences between cultures. Try a traditional lasagna and see how the country can affect the flavor. If you want to try a different variety of an old favorite, consider lasagne al pesto instead.