Besides the beautiful countryside, romantic language, and handmade leather, we all know the real reason to visit Italia is THE FOOD. Olives. Wine. Cheese. Pizza. Pasta. Seafood. Olive Oil. Basically all things good in life. So put on a bib and prepare to drool over a week of amazing made-from-scratch Mediterranean meals.
Oftentimes, we have an idea of what foods are famous in a given country. But breakfast seems to go unnoticed, so I'm always intrigued. In Italy, we enjoyed expertly made cappucinos, of course. Generally, we found an assortment of breads, cheeses, and cured meat along with fresh fruits, and pastries. One restaurant even served Olive Oil Apple Cake that was almost identical to the recipe I shared in November!
Grilled bread and olive oil are basically a food group in Italy. We enjoyed bruschetta with every meal!
Cured black olives were the most common variety we were served before a meal.
Buffalo Mozzarella is made from the milk of Italian buffaloes and is produced in many regions, including Rome. It's sometimes called "pearl of the table" as it's served in small balls. We really took our time savoring the fresh, slightly tangy flavor in each bite.
With the cold winter weather, how could we not jump on the chance to try Minestrone?
Since we were by the ocean, we enjoyed an indulgent amount of seafood. Spaghetti di Mare had Mussels in a garlic butter sauce. Risotto di Mare was rich and creamy. And we even tried a Spaghetti with Caviar and Mussels in a red sauce.
Think of the best lasagna your Nonna (Grandma) made. Then imagine it with fresh homemade pasta, fresh raw cheese, and grass-fed organic beef. To die for.
I've heard that pizzas in Italy are unique to each region. In Rome and Florence, we found excellent thin crust pizzas with not too much sauce. In Rome, I decided to try a Sardinian Pizza, topped with - you guessed it - sardines. It was nice, but a little salty for my taste. But the best pizza I ever tasted in my life? That was at The Fork in Florence. I watched as the chef prepared the dough from scratch, chopped fresh veggies, and baked it in a wood-fired oven. The whole garden came with it, from eggplant, to arugula, to onion, tomatoes, and fresh burrata.
Ravioli has always been my favorite pasta, and the several varieties we tried in Rome did not disappoint. The pillow-shaped pasta resembled a deck of cards in size, and the ricotta and spinach filling made our hearts sing.
This one's a no-brainer, right? These little meat and cheese sandwiches were everywhere and make the perfect , cheap, on-the-go snack for travelers.
Coffee will never be the same. Forget Starbucks, Italy is the hipster that made coffee culture cool. Rich, frothy capuccinos deliver pure joy. The espresso was never burnt or acidic as I often find the in States. It was truly a delight to take pause during a stroll to enjoy a coffee on the patio.
Not a fan of caffeinated beverages? Maybe coffee-flavored dessert is more appealing. Throughout our trip, each tiramisu we tried was different, ranging from a soft custard, to a stiff mousse, to the sponge-cake dessert we're used to here in the U.S. Despite the variations, each one was delicious in its own right.
Need we say more? Gelato is ice cream's richer, creamier Italian cousin. Just like scoop shops here, many different flavors were always an option, but pistachio seemed to be the local favorite.
Served almost anywhere you find gelato, cannolis are a tube-shaped crunchy pastry filled with cream. Once again, pistachio cream was the most popular, classic Italian flavor.