So, you’ve made it to Italy, you’ve got all
your sightseeing booked by the hour and a table at the tastiest places around
each night. Your only problem now is what to do in between, namely what are you
going to eat between now and dinner time? Luckily for you Italy is full of
places that cater to those on the go, just look at how they drink their coffee.
If you are booked back to back at tourist spots you aren’t going to have the
time to sit down but that’s what these takeaway places are all about. And don’t
think just because it’s a quick bite it wont be up to standard (two things that
come hand in hand in other places) many of these treats are lovingly made
in-house with as much care as your main meal. If you see any of these be sure
you grab one on your way to your next event.
Pizza Al Taglio
Otherwise known as pizza by the slice is of
course a widely popular Italian snack. Known for their mastery of dough and
their fine selection of mouth watering toppings, Italian pizza is something
else. You’ll find lots of pizza to go as you make your way around the
well-traveled areas, so take advantage of it while you can.
Cornetti Con Panna
These little pastries may not look too exciting,
but they are incredibly tasty. You may be used to some chocolate or jam in your
croissant in addition to cream, but Italian cream is much richer than the
standard stuff elsewhere. Grab one of these and try not to get your face
covered in the stuff.
The bread that you may see in restaurants but
hardly anywhere else back home here is used far more commonly. You will find it
covered in toppings like tomato, olives and slathered in melted cheese as an
easy bite to eat. It also provides the basis for some very simple but flavour
packed sandwiches, often coupled with some slices cured meats and that’s it. No
need for extra because it really tastes good all on its own,
These golden twirls are essentially Italian
pretzels. Although they aren’t as hard as the varieties you may get elsewhere,
instead they are much chewier once you get to their centre. Inside you’ll also
find something different in the form of fennel seeds which give a nice variety
and add that fragrant spiciness to the mix.
Panino Con Porchetta
Another simple but satisfying snack is this
bread and meat combo. This time it is panini bread, the same stuff you’ll get
when you order one from a café (but a tastier authentic Italian one). The meat
in here is Porchetta,
which is a very delicate deep flavoured pork that is often made in rolls that
include liver and extra fat for more flavour.
Who could forget the sweet Italian dessert
that can be seen on the corner of every street? Gelato is homemade ice cream at
its best, fresh ingredients, tasty chunks of extras and a rich thick and creamy
texture. You wont struggle to find somewhere that serves this, though you may
have trouble ordering since the queues for the popular places can be lengthy.
In Italy food is more than a question of quelling an appetite it is much more about a lifestyle and a reflection of the culture and artistic nature of its people. The love and appreciation for the quality of ingredients however basic means that somehow even the poorest among them know how to cook and eat well. This kind of knowledge and passion comes from a culinary heritage that produces some of the finest food around. Northern Italy is a diverse and fascinating region where the spirit of the people can be illustrated by their eating habits. Because they generally love to eat and cook flavourful food at home they would expect nothing less when eating out, regardless of whether the establishment was a fancy restaurant or a more humble establishment.
The Italian pride means that for the most part this is what they will get! Traditionally for Italians breakfast is a light affair with good coffee and perhaps a cornetto or croissant as we more commonly know it. However, come lunch or dinner time more serious fare is on offer and you can expect to be served four courses albeit smaller in size than some other cultures have the custom. First the anti-pesto or appetizer which may typically be a plate of cold cuts called Salumi served with perhaps a bruschetta bread topped with something delicious like tomato and garlic or a preparation of vegetables in oil. The first course or primo may consist of soup, pasta or risotto. The second course secondo is usually meat, fish, seafood or game and you might order a contorno or side dish of salad or vegetables which will complement the main.
Finally, the dessert or dolce rounds off the meal and such sumptuous treats us Tiramisu, fruit or gelato or perhaps good cheese are typically served. Each region of Italy boasts its own cuisine developed over considerable time.
What many people regard as typically, Italian fare comes primarily from southern Italy, such as pasta with tomato sauce, garlic or pizza.
However, in the north they use more butter and cream in the sauces as well as tomatoes and pasta may be left aside in favour of polenta or risotto. A trip around some of the regions of northern Italy will reveal the varied and delicious ingredients and dishes to be found. In Venice a history connected to the spice trade leaves a legacy of amazing flavour attached to some of the humblest of foods. Be sure to try the scampi, crab or squid from the Adriatic or the oft derided liver and onions. Lombardy as a region favours butter over olive oil using it to good effect in dishes, such as Osso Buco a dish of sliced veal sauteed with the bone marrow. Also featuring veal is a version of the schnitzel called cotoletta alla milanese. The abundance of lakes here too, means trout and perch are used in the pasta dishes.
Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta is famous for its white truffles with the city of Alba serving as Italy’s truffle centre. Roast meats and hearty soups are also favourites often served with slices of polenta. Gorgonzola cheese also comes from Piedmont. The area of Liguria includes Genoa where many ancient Seafarers returned from the New World years ago carrying tomatoes, potatoes and peppers all staples of Italian cuisine. On the coast this region is also famous for its seafood as well as pesto made from pine nuts, basil and olive oil. Liguria is also home of the focaccia a flat and tasty bread topped with herbs. All these regions help to make Northern Italy one of the most diverse and delicious places to eat!