Ay Caramba! Italy, a place of immense history and diversity, famous in everything from food, to music, dance to politics to natural wonders and so much more. A very popular tourist destination for people and a place that people wish to visit at least once in their lifetime. Today, in this article am going to be telling you about the best foods to eat in Italy if you should ever visit the beautiful country, these foods are sure to prickle your taste buds.
Although a slab of flatbread served with oil and spices, (which is basically, what Pizza is) was around long before the unification of the Italian States. There’s perhaps no dish that is as common or as representative of the country as the humble pizza and it is a dish that no doubt deserves a place on the list of best foods to eat in Italy.
Easy, cheap, and delicious, pizza has long been a common snack or meal, especially in Naples where tomato sauce was first added. When the Italian Queen Margherita came through the bustling city on a tour of her kingdom in 1889 she asked to try this dish that she saw so many of her subjects eating. A local entrepreneur served her the now-legendary combination of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, creating (or more likely, branding) the Margherita pizza. Whether by coincidence or design, the Margherita also displays the colours of the Italian flag.
As you can imagine, there are a TON of pizzerias in Italy. Two best pizza spots in Rome are Roscioli and Bonci. Bonci is called the Michelangelo of pizza by Vogue pizza. You will find pizza margherita almost everywhere in Italy because it has the colours of the true Italian flag! While the typical Neapolitan pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, salt, and extra-virgin olive oil. Pizza is truly one of the best foods to eat in Italy.
This is another popular Italian dish and one of the best foods to eat in Italy, Lasagna is a wide, flat pasta noodle, usually baked in layers in the oven. Like most Italian dishes, its origins are hotly contested, but we can at least say that its stronghold is in the region of Emilia-Romagna, where it transformed from a poor man’s food to a rich meal filled with the ragù, or meat sauce. Although you can find lasagna throughout all of Italy, there’s nothing like trying the hearty dish in Emilia Romagna with homemade noodles, fresh ragù, and a generous dollop of regional pride and enjoying one of the best foods to eat in Italy
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
This dish speaks of the Italians’ love for meat, and it is definitely a dish that deserves a place on the list of best foods to eat in Italy.
If you think one kilogram of steak is too much, then you have come to the wrong place, because you are about to be surprised. In Italy, the steaks are served huge and rare, accompanied by napkins and little else. These lumps of cow can be divided among several diners if you are in a group, or devoured by one hardy soul.
The list of best foods to eat in Italy would be grossly incomplete if I didn’t mention this soup that has become so popular. With roots in the peasant cooking of the region, this vegetable soup is thickened with bread instead of meat, because that is what was cheaper and more readily available for hundreds of years in the desperately poor Italian countryside.
In Tuscany, the dish is considered a special treat in the autumn, when the taste of the harvest vegetables is at its most vibrant and the soup explodes with an intense savouriness despite the absence of meat (at least in the traditional versions). Often eaten as a first course instead of pasta in the trattorie of Florence, this one hearty stew shows off the immense and often untapped power of great produce and is definitely one of the best foods to eat in Italy.
The world-famous ossobuco alla milanese is a bone-in veal shank, cooked low and slow until meltingly tender in a broth of meat stock, white wine, and veggies. Traditionally, it is accompanied by a gremolata (lemon zest, garlic, and parsley) but that’s optional. Although the Milanese like to claim this meaty masterpiece there are as many versions of it as there are nonnas in Lombardy, which is known for hearty, often rustic dishes that are good at coating the ribs and staving off the winter chill.
Despite the popularity of ossobuco (which literally means ‘hollow bone’), it’s not always common to see it on restaurant menus because it needs about three hours of cooking time. If you do get a chance to eat it in a restaurant or home, or even to cook it yourself, you should jump at the opportunity because it is one of the best foods to eat in Italy.
Spaghetti carbonara is a dish made with spaghetti noodles, egg, Parmigianino cheese, and bacon (or guanciale). It is the king of Roman pasta dishes, a creamy, peppery mix of eggs, pecorino cheese and crispy guanciale (cured pigs cheek) stirred through al dente pasta. Rome’s other great contributions to pasta sauce involve the steady reduction of ingredients: “gricia” is cheese, pepper and guanciale, while “cacio e pepe” is simply cheese and pepper, you will fall in love with this delicious and fantabulous meal as it is one of the best foods to eat in Italy.
When in Rome, you must have gelato every single day because it is fantabulous and bags a place on the list of best foods to eat in Italy. The best gelato shop in Rome is Gelateria La Romana. You should Order the hazelnut and pistachio at least once when you are in Italy because the nuts are from the region. Most of the pistachios in America are fake because pistachios are very expensive. For the real deal, look out for gelato that isn’t brightly coloured (real pistachios are not neon green, for example), and that won’t stand up in tall towers (adding preservatives will do that). Moreover, stick with simple, traditional flavours so you can adequately enjoy this dish that is one of the best foods to eat in Italy.
Written By: William Nwokoji