If you’re going on holiday to Italy, be prepared to eat a lot of food. Italian food varies enormously from region to region. It’s so much more than just pepperoni pizza and spaghetti bolognese — expect to try pasta with fresh sardines in Sicily and saffron-infused risotto in Milan. Here are the top four dishes that you cannot leave Italy without eating:
1. Pizza In Naples
Many places claim to have ’invented’ pizza, but no claim is stronger than in the city of Naples. Naples was the first place to add tomato sauce to baked dough, making it the birthplace of pizza. In Naples, pizza is baked in a traditional dome-like oven. Neapolitan pizza has a thick, fluffy crust and the middle of the pizza has a soft, liquid-like center. AllTheRooms tip: don’t wear white when eating Neapolitan pizza.
Try the traditional Pizza Marina, it features simple ingredients of just tomatoes, oregano, garlic and olive oil. Pizza was invented without cheese after all — so embrace tradition. If you can’t stand the idea of pizza without cheese, go for a simple Margarita pizza, which has the addition of mozzarella.
2. Pasta With Sardines In Sicily
While it sounds like a simple dish, Pasta con le sarde, or just pasta with sardines, is a truly incredible dish bursting with flavor. The pasta is served al dente, and restaurants typically use penne pasta, however, sometimes spaghetti is used. The pasta is tossed in a pan with drizzles of olive oil, fennel, and fresh sardines. Some restaurants add raisins, pine nuts, and saffron. Sardines are plentiful in Sicily and are one of the cheapest types of fish, making the dish generally budget-friendly. Be sure to wash it down with an Italian white wine or fresh lemonade — Sicily is known to have some of the most delicious lemons in the world.
3. Tiramisu In Venice
While Tiramisu is on the menu in most Italian restaurants, you can’t say you have truly tried the dessert unless you’ve eaten it in Venice. Tiramisu was invented in a town called Treviso, which is a short drive from Venice. It’s a delicious mix of mascarpone custard, layered between whipped cream and rum and coffee-soaked ladyfingers. In Venice, you can find the classic coffee flavor Tiramisu alongside more exotic versions, such as pistachio, passion fruit, mango, amaretto Tiramisus. There are plenty of food market stalls and street sellers offering Tiramisu, so you can easily get your fix as you explore Venice.
4. Saffron-Infused Risotto In Milan
While pasta and pizza dominate the menus in Italy, the humble rice grain should not be forgotten about. Risotto is a delicious, creamy rice dish that originates from the North of Italy and the best place to try it is in Milan. The most famous type of risotto is the saffron-infused risotto alla Milanese. This type of risotto was reportedly invented by workers who were building Milan’s grand Cathedral in the 16th century. Risotto alla Milanese is made with white wine, saffron, and parmesan cheese. It’s perfectly creamy and best accompanied by a glass of white wine.