Italy is a haven for foodies. A world of culinary adventures awaits you, with numerous well-known popular dishes and regional specialties to sink your teeth into. The fertile agricultural lands and the warmth of the Mediterranean mean that Italy can produce many of its own ingredients. If you’re craving the many delicious flavors, why not take a food-inspired trip? The abundant foods to try in Italy are within easy reach with many airlines offering flights to Venice, Naples, Olbia, Sardinia and Sicily, getting to Italy couldn’t be more convenient.
You’ll quickly discover that there’s much more to Italian cuisine than pizza and pasta alone. Take a gastronomic journey and get your taste buds tingling with these top foods to try in Italy:
Panzanella makes the most of the fresh, locally grown ingredients from the Tuscan countryside. Popular in the summer, the original form of the dish used bread and onions. After the tomato was introduced to the region, however, tomato became more commonly used. Fresh and flavorful, panzanella is made from plump tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and small chunks of stale bread, rather like croutons. The ingredients are tossed together with olive oil and vinegar.
Canerderli is a great regional food to try in Italy’s northeastern area. It is another meal that is made from leftover bread. The bread is combined with milk and egg and molded to create a small round dumpling. Other ingredients, such as cheese, ham or spices, might also be added. The dumplings are boiled in meat broth and can be served with a little broth or alone. It is a popular winter dish.
3. Agnello alla Scottadito
Agnello alla Scottadito is a type of well-grilled lamb. The tender pieces of lamb are coated with a marinade of spices and herbs before grilled. They are served hot and usually eaten by hand; the word scottadito translates into finger burning! While lamb dishes are often common in Abruzzo, this dish can trace its roots to near Verona.
Caponata is a traditional dish from the Italian island of Sicily. The warm salad is based on eggplant. You’ll find various versions that use a range of other ingredients, but eggplant is always at the heart of caponata.
Found widely across the country, gnocchi is one of the most popular foods to try in Italy. Many people think of potato when they think of gnocchi. The small dumplings can, however, be made from various ingredients, including wheat flour or semolina. The thick but soft dumplings take their main flavor from the sauce that they are served in. Creamy sauces are common, but there are many variations on this classic Italian dish.
Arancini is a tasty dish of breadcrumb-covered rice balls that have been stuffed with various fillings. Fillings typically include tomato sauce, cheese, mushrooms, or herbs. The balls are fried before being served.
7. Su Porcheddu
Su Porcheddu is a specialty from the Italian island of Sardinia. The dish takes around three hours to cook; it’s a whole suckling pig. It can either be spit roasted over a wood-burning fire, or placed in a hole under the fire to cook. One of the top foods to try in Italy’s Sardinia, it is widely available across the island.
Based on a type of grain, similar to rice, there are many variations of risotto. The grain is slow cooked in a broth, resulting in a rich and creamy texture. Traditionally from the north of Italy, you’ll now find it in many places countrywide.
Cacciucco is one of the best foods to try in Italy if you’re a seafood lover. Originating in Livorno, it was traditionally made from leftover seafood and fish that vendors were unable to sell. Common ingredients include squid, monkfish and different shellfish. The items are cooked in a spicy tomato broth.
10. Risi e Bisi
A traditional plate from Venice, the key to risi e bisi’s success is its simplicity. It contains just two major ingredients: rice and peas. The rice and peas are cooked together in a broth with seasoning.
While usually served as accompaniments, no list of the best foods to try in Italy is complete with mentioning the delicious array of breads and based-based items, like bruschetta, ciabatta, farinata and focaccia. Cured prosciutto ham is also incredibly popular.
If you’re craving something sweet, top foods to try in Italy include the ever-present gelato, tiramisu, torrone and panna cotta. In need of a pick-me-up? How about an espresso to kick-start your day?
Visit Italy and savor the many delectable dishes that can be found all around the country; you certainly won’t ever need to feel hungry!