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My Top 10 Favorite Things to Eat in Italy

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My whole life, I have been very small. My mother would always tell me to put on some more weight, because I was just so tiny. I swear, two months in Italy and I gained at least ten pounds. I just couldn’t stop eating the delicious food. Italian meals are very simple, but the ingredients used to make every meal are fresh. I went to a cheese shop while in Calabria, and they kept apologizing because the cheese was old. I said to her “Oh, how long ago did you make it?” and she said, “Yesterday.” They even gave me a discount on the cheese because it wasn’t fresh. In Italy, the best restaurants are those off the beaten path. Eating in the touristy part of town can be very pricey. Try looking for trattorias, which are restaurants with an Italian style cuisine. The portions are big, the food tastes home cooked, and it is very well priced.

 

Gelato in Rome

Gelato in Rome

 

 

Here is a list of must-eats while you are visiting Italy!

 

 

 

Gelato

 

Gelato (a type of ice cream) is taken very seriously in Italy. The gelato is rich and creamy and looks so fresh. When in Italy, I can't go one day without my daily dose of gelato. There is a very famous ice cream shop named Zoro in the south of Italy that sells over three thousand ice creams a day! It’s just that good. So if you are ever visiting Cosenza, be sure to try it! I must say that after eating their gelato, no other ice cream could live up to how amazingly yummy it was. I’m craving gelato, just thinking about it.

 

Gelato with Zio Antonio

Gelato with Zio Antonio

 

 

Porchetta

 

Porchetta is roasted pork, and is most commonly used for sandwiches and Paninis. Porchetta first originated in central Italy. In North America, it is called Italian pulled pork. I was staying in a small town that would hold a market every Wednesday, and fresh porchetta was sold. A usual snack for me would be some fresh bread from the local bakery, and a little bit of porchetta from the deli or market.

 

 

Pizza

 

Pizza is by far the most popular food to have in Italy. It is said that the best pizza in the world comes from Napoli (Naples). When in Napoli, you will come across signs of a small clown with a white dwarf hat holding a pizza. Two pizza associations use this clown character for their logos. You will find that this logo is on many pizza parlors.

 

Pizza meal in Florence

Pizza meal in Florence

 

 

Biscotti

 

There are many types of biscotti (cookies) in Italy. The almond cookies are one of the tastiest cookies I have ever tried. A regular breakfast in Italy would be biscotti and a coffee. All my Italian relatives thought it was so gross that in North America we have salty foods for breakfast, like eggs and bacon. In Italy everyone loves having sweets for breakfast! Yum. I love our American chocolate chip cookies but I must say the Italians make the best cookies. I think my parents should start letting me eat cookies for breakfast all the time. It’s a sweet start to my morning.

 

 

Truffles

 

A little jar of truffle oil in North America is at least forty dollars. However, in Italy, that same jar that costs forty dollars in North America will cost six euros. These mushrooms are found by wild boars in Umbria and Tuscany. You can put truffle oil in to any meal or sandwich to add some flavor to it. So delicious! I love it because I barely ever get to have it when I’m in Canada. I’m eating it as much as I can while I’m in Italy, since is it so cheap. Truffle oil in creamy sauce on pasta is fantastic.

 

 

Lasagna

 

A classic Italian dish for dinner or lunch. Lasagna is made with strips of wide flat pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese. Meat or vegetables are often added in, as well. Lasagna is also very popular dish in North America. Lasagna is great for leftovers because it still tastes fresh the next day. It’s all about the quality of the ingredients. Lasagna made with homemade tomato sauce is absolutely mouthwatering.

 

 

Bruschetta

 

Bruschetta is oven roasted bread with cheese, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh seasoning like basil or oregano. You can enjoy this snack with almost any meal. Bruschetta is often used as an appetizer. It’s a healthy and quick snack to make.

 

 

Cold Cuts

 

Cold cuts are slices of cold cooked meat. They are perfect for sandwiches. There are many types of cold cuts. My personal favorites are mortadella and prosciutto. I found that cold cuts are a really easy and simple snack to carry around with you when going on a day trip. Just pick up some fresh bread and you are set.

 

 

Wine

 

In Italy, wine is a lot cheaper than water. Weird, right? Italian wine is exported all over the world and is also an extremely popular drink in Italy. The wine regions in Italy are found in the Northern provinces, because there are lots of vineyards there. Italy is ranked number one for the largest wine producers in the world.

 

Handpicked asparagus, Italy

Handpicked asparagus

 

Food is an important part of Italy’s culture. Italians take their food seriously. It’s all about joy and happiness. Food brings your family together. Family and friends are key to having a great Italian meal. Sundays are usually the day when the whole family will get together and have a feast. Sitting around the table with the ones you love and eating a delicious meal is a great way to end a day. When visiting Italy, I hope you enjoy the food! I know I did.

 

 

 

 

Becca Tran is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Becca Tran

 

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Things to Eat in Italy

 

 

 

 

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