Without a doubt one of the most popular cuisines in the Western world, Italian food is a cultural experience in itself. Pizza, pasta, gelato, tiramisu – it’s everything that’s right with the world really.
Go traditional with pizza. Italians eat it with fewer toppings. A simple Margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil will blow your mind. There’s also pasta, of course. This varies depending on what region of Italy you are in. In Rome they do pasta alla carbonara particularly well. Risotto is another typical dish, made from rice cooked in a seasoned broth to create a deliciously creamy texture.
Arancini is another Italian food that’s great to experience. It’s basically rice balls dusted in bread crumbs then fried. Each region has a slightly different way of making them. Arancini con ragu adds mozzarella and tomato sauce into the mix and is particularly delicious.
As for dessert, gelato is an obvious one. It’s said to have hailed from Florence originally. It is soft, creamy and fresh in Italy. It’s often made with regional produce and they can be quite experimental with flavours. Tiramisu is a traditional desert made from ladyfingers (sponge biscuits), eggs, coffee, cocoa, sugar and mascarpone cheese.
Cheese and wine are a major part of Italian cuisine and are often paired together. Along the coast, fish forms an essential part of the local diet, accompanied by fresh, seasonal vegetables and grains. Basil, nuts and olive oil are just some of the simple ingredients that feature in many Italian dishes.
Safe eating while travelling in Italy
Food hygiene standards in Italy are relatively high so travellers are unlikely to fall ill from food poisoning during their trip. As with anywhere in the world, it is important to be wary of any meat or fish that has not been cooked thoroughly. If food looks old, unclean or poorly prepared, it is best to avoid it.