Category Archives: Italian Food & Wine

Ten Facts About Gelato That You Ought To Know

On a hot summer day in Italy, nothing tastes quite as divine as a cold, sweet scoop of gelato. As one of the Italian food inventions that are loved all over the world, gelato actually has a history as diverse as the colors and flavors that it comes in. Here are just ten facts about gelato that you ought to know! The word “gelato” means “frozen” or “to freeze” in Italian. A gelato vendor is known as a “gelatai”. Gelato is made from fruit, sugar, and milk, and traditionally hails from Northern Italy. When you remove the milk and use water instead, you end up with a sorbetto which is a southern product. Gelato isn’t actually frozen as we normally know it, and compared to normal ice cream which is stored at 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, is actually required to be kept at a slightly warmer temperature of 10-15 […]

Taste of Summer: Quintessential Italian Summer Food

With the arrival of summer in Italy, there are many things that make the change in seasons particularly obvious. The temperature changes from cool to hot, the general pace of life in the country slows down as everybody’s mood shifts to one that is more relaxed, and people look forward to some well-deserved days (or weeks) of rest, recreation, and vacation, of course. In Italy, however, a country that passionately loves its food, this shift is also reflected in every meal and table, and the heavier and warmer winter food is replaced by the considerably lighter summer dishes. One of the main points of difference between winter and summer fare would be the method of preparation, because while winter dishes are more often than not boiled or stewed, summer dishes tend to be quicker and easier to prepare. This can be mostly attributed to the fact that nobody wants to […]

7 Desserts You Shouldn’t Miss in Rome

The eponymous phrase La Dolce Vita – The Sweet Life that is ascribed to Rome with both affection and irony can also be taken quite literally. Sugary sweets that start your day, provide a late afternoon pick me up or end your evening meal abound in the Eternal City.  These are our favorite 7 desserts you shouldn’t miss in Rome. Maritozzi con la Panna. This just barely sweet yeasted roll is split and filled with freshly whipped and sweetened cream and is most easily found in local Roman bars first thing in the morning. The name is derived from the word marito meaning husband.  The word maritozzi means almost married and these sweet cream filled buns were traditionally presented by young grooms to heir brides just before the wedding. Gelato. You can not visit Rome and not try this famous frozen treat. Hopefully more than once. Made with less air and […]

Best Dishes to Taste in Sicily

Italian cuisine is generally not very ostentatious, using only a few ingredients for many of its dishes and emphasizing on simplicity when it comes to presentation. But the Italians’ characteristic insistence on using only the highest-quality ingredients makes their cooking singularly remarkable. Furthermore, Italian cuisine is also well-known for its diversity, so much so that each of its regions and provinces would usually have different versions of classic dishes that are otherwise recognized simply and generically as “Italian” (pasta and pizza lovers, take note).  Sicily, the Mediterranean’s largest Island and an autonomous region within Italy, is one of the best places in the country to experience this diversity in food. Although its gastronomic culture shares a great deal of similarities with quintessential Italian cuisine, it also embraces a lot of influences from the Spanish, Greeks, French, Germans, and Arabs.  On this list, we share with you the best dishes to […]

What are Your Favorite Italian Easter Dishes?

As in other countries with a long history of Christian tradition, Easter is one of the two most important religious festivals in Italy, rivaling only Christmas in terms of cultural significance. First instituted by early Christians at around the second century C.E., the Easter holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after he was crucified in Calvary. Although Easter this year falls on the 20th of April, this isn’t always the case because it is a moveable festival based on the Christian liturgical calendar. The date varies every year (from March 22 to April 25), but it is always held on a Sunday. In Italy, Pasqua, as Easter is called, is a national holiday, but the Monday that follows it is also a holiday and is called Pasquetta or Little Easter. The Italian celebration of Easter is marked with joyful festivities and feasts, a stark contrast […]

Seven Dishes You Have to Taste in Rome

Roman food is a hearty, rustic affair with bold flavors and inexpensive ingredients that have their history in a less prosperous time. Despite its meager roots, signature Roman cuisine is renowned the world over for its great taste, filling nature and classy aroma. These are our picks for the seven dishes you have to taste in Rome. Pasta is Italy’s staple food. Estimates are that the average Italian eats roughly 60 pounds of pasta per year. Each region has its own typical shapes and sauces. Pasta in Italy is cooked al dente, which is slightly firmer than you might be used to. 1. Buccatini Amatriciana. Buccatini is a long, hollow spaghetti-like noodle and is usually served with an Amatriciana sauce. This classic Roman pasta sauce is made with tomatoes, onions, pecorino cheese and crispy guanciale, which is similar to bacon. 2. Cacio e Pepe. Cacio e pepe means cheese and […]

How to Eat Like an Italian When Touring Italy

Delicious food is one of things that Italy is best known for. Pizza, spaghetti, lasagne and ravioli are just some of the images that come to mind when the words “Italian food” is mentioned. What the average person doesn’t know is that what we refer to as Italians food in the US are actually very Americanized variants of food from Italy. There’s no such thing as “Italian food” over there. Food in Italy follows themes that are reflective of the regions where they come from. For instance, Rome’s specialties include bucatini amatriciana and carciofi Romana. Florence is all about the divine Fiorentina T-bone steaks. Venice, on the other hand, is a seafood lover’s paradise. It’s a place for feasting on squid ink pasta and grilled scallops. Each locale’s cuisine has a distinct character that you may not have expected to be of Italian origin if you didn’t know better. When […]

What to Eat on the Amalfi Coast

The scenic  Amalfi Coast in the southern region of  Italy is a gourmet wonderland.  Here are our picks for what to eat on the Amalfi Coast. A Sweet Start to Your Day Coffee on the Amalfi Coast is Neapolitan style, rich and flavorful.  Have a sweet start to your day with a light, sugar encrusted brioche with a cappuccino freddo.  Some places along the coast will make cappuccino freddo by filling a tall glass with icy coffee granite and pouring milk over it. Coastal Bounty The blue waters of the Mediterranean are filled with pezzogna (blue-spotted bream), spigola (sea bass), orata (gilthead), and rombo (turbot) to name a few.  Ask your server what is fresh that day.  Fish will usually be served lightly grilled with olive oil and lemon or Acqua Pazza (crazy water) style in a light herby, garlicky tomato sauce. Zuppe de Cozze  – mussels stewed in a […]

Best Food Souvenirs from Italy

Some of the best souvenir shopping is in the small neighborhood alimentari shops, local grocery stores and in major Italian cities,  Eataly.  Here is our guide to the best food souvenirs from Italy Pocket Coffee It looks like a teensy tiny juice box, but it is filled with a shot of pure, brewed arabic espresso and chocolate.  Look for them at the cash register in bars or if you are on an Italian road trip at the Autogrill rest stops. Kinder Surprise This sweet treat was long banned in the United States because of the small toy prize inside.  During the summer there is a special version that is still in the iconic egg shape, but is eaten with a small, included spoon. Pasta is a great gift to bring back.  It is light and easy to pack.  Look for pasta from Gragnano, a small town in the mountains above […]

Drinking in Italy

Scenic vineyards in Tuscany and Umbria, gurgling fountains of cold, clear water in Rome and Venice, but there is more to drink than wine and water!  Here is the Tour Italy Now guide to drinking in Italy. Water The water you see in fountains is almost always safe to drink.  Only if you see a sign stating “aqua non potabile” is it not safe to drink.  In Rome you will see small fountains all over the historic center.  There are over 2500 of these Nasone fountains, named for the large rounded spout.  To drink like the Romans, find the small hole on the spout and then block the large opening with your hand and a perfect stream of water will flow, creating a drinking fountain.  You can refill your water bottle with this free water and save some euros too. At restaurants and bars you will be served bottled water. […]