Last week I shared some Tour Director recommendations on foods to try while travelling in Europe. This week I hand the floor over to Italy, trust me, it deserves a posting of its own.
1. Lampredotto – When in Florence TDs ‘Lazio’ David M. and Barbara V. have always been big promoters of Lampredotto the fourth and final stomach of a cow eaten in a sandwich. Definitely one for the discerning and adventurous traveller. In winter time there are stands in the city making these sandwiches fresh, always with great atmosphere around them. Lazio Dave also insists I mention that while this is a Florentine speciality the best food, apparently, is found in Rome.
2. Zucchini – Barbara V. is a TD of great style and taste, her suggestion is Zucchini flower deep fried and stuffed with mozzarella cheese and tiny piece of anchovy. Zucchini flowers are often overlooked in many places but in Italy they are a traditional dish and this is one speciality you should try to seek out.
3. Not Just Pizza – Rome is, naturally, home to some of the finest pizzerias you will find anywhere. Laura P. also reminds me that these places are great for trying supplì and arancini. Arancini (literally translates as oranges) are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs. Arancini are usually filled with ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. Suppli are the Roman variant, usually filled with cheese. If you cannot find the time to go to a pizzeria then, firstly, why not? However, city centres have abundant pizza a taglio places – large trays of pizza are made up, you choose the one you like and they cut off as much as you want and you pay by the weight. Inexpensive and very effective if you’re looking for a quick and tasty lunch.
4. South of Rome – Laura also recommends trying Delizia al limone in Sorrento (I had a superb slice of this once in Capri, unbelievably good, I would build a small raft of my own to go back there and have it again) and of course, cannoli in Sicily! Cannolis are most certainly a Sicilian creation and it is rare to find them elsewhere in Italy. The granita, which started all of this food talk last week, is also a Sicilian thing, although this can be found in other parts of Italy.
5. Other Roman Treats – Local Tour Director Giuseppe Z. says, in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome, Via Portico d’Ottavia there is a little shop named Boccioni, where you can find two specialities “la pizza ebraica” (a kind of cake with nuts and canditi) and “la torta di visciole” (a kind of cheese cake with sour cherries).
6. My choice – Italians just know how to do pasta, they really do. I have had pasta in just about every country in Europe and there is just something about having it in Italy. Few things in life taste better to me than Penne all’Arrabiata, especially with the perfect balance of red chilli pepper. I am also in agreement with James P.; there might not be a better cheese in the world than Caciocavallo from Puglia, southern Italy.
I’m sure I missed a few! What foods can you add to my Italian list?