If you’re on your way to Italy, or need five really good excuses to start planning a trip, these foods in Italy must make your food bucket list. I’ve written before on how you should eat your way through Europe, but Italy being the food capital that it is, deserves its own list. Even if you can only make it a weekend trip (and if that’s the case Florence should be your #1 Italian destination, trust me), pack your extra large trousers because there’s no way you’re leaving thinner!
This is no myth that the gelato is surreal in Italy. I’m strictly an ice cream girl myself, but once I touched down in Rome and had my first authentic Italian gelato, I was hooked. It’s creamy, rich, and totally counts as an entire meal. Or all your meals. My record was 4 cones in one day, and I have no regrets.
As an avid coffee drinker myself, I have consistently been let down at the quality of coffee and espresso while living in England. When traveling in Italy it’s some sort of coffee-lover’s dream. Drop two euro coins on any counter throughout the country and within a minute you’ll have a strong, beautiful shot of espresso in front of you. It’s completely spoiled espresso for me since now my standards have jumped so high, my parents’ Nespresso machine has no hope for recovery. Espresso in Italy is fantastically cheap, but still better than the most expensive versions you could find in America.
As it seems to have become a trend with my experience in Italy, the country has every food I love but does it 10x better than I could even fathom. The pizza, specifically in the Tuscan region, is out of this world. When done right, which it often is in Italy, you can taste the fresh tomatoes in the sauce, the cheese is homemade and the crust is pure perfection. I would’ve made most of my meals pizza if I wasn’t so eager to try other foods!
Yup I said it! Italians know how to do seafood right. They don’t over complicate it and they get it fresh from the Mediterranean. I tried some lightly fried octopus in Venice and it was some of the strangest and tasty foods I’ve tried. Many Americans make the mistake of filling their Italy trips with pasta, pizza and gelato (and I don’t blame them). But the truth is Italian food cuisine has so much more to offer.
A regional specialty I gobbled down in Bologna, tortilloni is almost like mini tortellini. When made right they’re handmade on the premise and filled with meat and served with bolognese sauce. I’m not an avid pasta eater, but when traveling through Italy it’s a disservice to your palette to not try some regional favorites. This was by far my favorite pasta in Italy, partly because I enjoyed it at a tiny local joint minutes before hopping on a train to Venice.
This post was written by Rachel Wortmann. Rachel is a marketing student by day, brand strategist by night, and world traveler in between. Originally from the United States, she moved over to England for university when she was 18 and hasn’t looked back since! She has traveled to over 17 countries in four years, all from her own earnings. She works remotely as a brand strategist and manager for creative entrepreneurs, where she is able to help small business owners from all over the globe. She started writing her travel blog Small Town Girl, Big World Travels over four years ago, which has now turned into a hub of information for young, ambitious women who want to work and travel. See what’s new on her blog and subscribe to insider posts and advice here! Make sure you also visit her over on her Instagram and Twitter!