I recently spent sometime in Italy, eating my way around Rome and Venice. I had one of the best pastas of my life, went on a quest for pizza and ate more gelato then I would like to count. I didn’t even come near the tip of the iceberg for amazing Italian food, but I think I scraped it just enough to share some tantalizing photos with those of you who have yet to have a chance to visit for yourself.
You can’t visit Italy and not eat pasta. Italians invented pasta and there are at least 310 different kinds of it that can be made into an uncountable number of delicious dishes from spaghetti to cannelloni, lasagna, penne, linguini, fettuccini, bowtie, macaroni I could go on. So lets keep it simple. On the day I ate this pasta I wasn’t feeling so well and I wanted something light and simple. I couldn’t be bothered to find a place to eat outside of the ‘touristy” areas so I plunked myself down at a restaurant right in front of the Pantheon and ordered the spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (Garlic, olive oil and chilli spaghetti). I wasn’t expecting much but I was quite literally blown away. So simple, yet honestly one of the best pastas of my life. A little spicy, a little garlicky with a nice touch of olive oil. I was in heaven and it actually made me feel a bit better. It was one of those meals where you would love to try and recreate at home but know that you can never make it as great so why ruin it trying.
The first time I went to Italy was in 2007. I was on a group tour at the time and after our gondola ride we stopped at a pizza place hidden among Venice’s famous maze of streets. The pizza was hot and fresh. Thin and crispy. With just the right amount of cheese and toppings. It was a memorable meal and now that I found myself back in Venice almost five years later I searched and found that same place to eat it from again. The same guy was even working there. However on that day I also learned from a tour guide that “pizza in Venice is not real pizza because it is not made with a wood fried oven.” I was saddened by this news.
Parmigiano-Reggiano. Try it. You can thank me for it later.
A friend took me to a gelato shop called IL Gelato by Claudio torcè and the first room we walked into had some of the craziest gelato flavors I had ever heard of like habanero and black sesame. I was about to walk out and be turned off of gelato forever, I thought they were crazy. Then we walked into the next part of the gelato shop and there were at least 10 different kinds of chocolate gelato, from varying percentages of cocoa to added flavourings like chili (chili?), now this is what I’m talking about. I also later indulged into a sorbeto made with strawberries and lemon.
These were some of the basics and “staples” of every day Italian foods I enjoyed on my trip but there is so much more! What are some of your favorite Italian eats?