Category Archives: Italian Food & Wine

What is Italian Food?

  What is Italian Food? To answer that question, let me start with a story.  An American was visiting Rome recently and  ordered a plate of spaghetti alle vongole, a dish he thought he was familiar with. It’s spaghetti in clam sauce, right?.  His food arrived and he started to dig in, but he felt like something was missing, so he called the waitress back and asked for some parmesan cheese.  Her face fell and she snapped “no” at the bewildered American and she headed back towards the kitchen. What happened here?  This American, one that had grown up with an with an Italian grandmother even, had broken a very important Italian food rule. No cheese with fish. So what is Italian food?  Chicken Parm?  Spaghetti & Meatballs? The answer starts with that there really isn’t something called “Italian Food.” Italy did not become a unified country until 1861. What […]

How to Order Food in Italy

Italy is all about food.  It is one of the greatest pleasures during a trip to Italy.  There are a few things that are a little bit different in a restaurant than what you might be used to.  Here are our tips for how to order food in Italy. Where to Go Bar: Go to the bar for your morning cappuccino and cornetto (pastry)  At lunch or snack time you can get readymade sandwiches. At the bar you pay for purchases before you eat and the prices are often different of you sit at a table or eat standing at the bar.  Remember: panino – one sandwich, panini – more than one sandwich Tavolo Caldo Casual, inexpensive places that serve prepared food, often cafeteria style. These are great because you can see exactly what is on offer and just point to what you want.  Perfect for kids who have had […]

The Best Gelato in Italy

How do you find the best gelato in Italy?  Come with us and see!. The writings of Pliny the Elder from over 2,000 years ago talk about a sweet dessert made from snow collected from the mountains, brought to Rome and mixed with crushed fruit for a sweet, cold dessert… The name gelato is  derived from the Italian word, gelare, which means to freeze. In Italy an ice cream shop is known as a gelateria. While the two words gelato and ice cream are sometimes used interchangeably they are not quite the same thing. Italian gelato is denser with less air incorporated into it and it has a lower fat content. Gelato is also served at a higher temperature than ice cream. Italians take their gelato pretty seriously.  There is even a Gelato University in the town of Anzola dell’Emilia, near Bologna where you can take courses on how to […]

Tour Italy Now’s Dominic Siano in Huffington Post Travel

Tour Italy Now’s been a fan of Huffington Post Travel since its launch. We’re especially fond of the stunning slide shows they run, and often post links to them on our Facebook page and Twitter account. Yesterday Dominic Siano, founder and president of Tour Italy Now, made his publishing debut in Huffington Post Travel with the piece, “Italy, Land of Pasta, Now Does Gluten-Free Cuisine.” The piece is based on dining experiences Dominic had on his first Italy tour since discovering he was gluten intolerant, that is, sensitive to food containing wheat, barley or rye. (People with a severe allergy to wheat, barley or rye have celiac.) Several months before his Italy tour, Dominic had given up bread, beer and, perhaps hardest of all to forego, pasta. Can you imagine, going to Italy and not being able to eat pasta? From his first dining experience, in a restaurant in Milan, […]

Enjoying Italian Food in Bologna, a.k.a. “La Grassa”

It’s virtually impossible not to find delicious Italian food in Italy. But one city where the food is particularly wonderful, never mind famous around the world, is Bologna. Some of Italy’s best known foods, from mortadella — yes, the word “baloney” is a variation on Bologna! — to Bolognese sauce, are from Bologna. Bologna is a medieval city that is home to one of the world’s oldest universities and, in a surprise to many visitors, its own canal system and a leaning tower, too. Another distinctive feature of its arcades, or portici, arched walkways throughout the city. Two other staples of Italian food, Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar, come from the outskirts of Bologna, in the Emilia-Romagna region. We wanted to share this recent article from the newspaper the Guardian of 10 budget restaurants in Bologna. This is just the sort of article you should bookmark in the event that […]

Modena and Bergamo Make Italian Food Top Michelin Star List

Huffington Post Food, which, along with Huffington Post Travel is one of Tour Italy Now’s go-to lifestyle sites, has compiled a list of the Top 20 Michelin-Starred Cities in the World. Not surprisingly, considering how delicious Italy food is, two Italian cities make the list: Bergamo, outside Milan, ranks number two, and Modena, about an hour from Bologna, ranks number twelve. Bravo! We wanted to call this Fun Fact about Italy to your attention, to generally recognize the great achievement but also perhaps so you can plan accordingly for your next Italy vacation. Of course eating Italian food while on vacation in Italy involves every food style, from pizzeria to trattoria and fine dining restaurants. While a Michelin-starred restaurant may not normally be on the cards for you — they’re not inexpensive, these culinary wonderlands — it’s fun to be in the know and also fun, if you’re in a […]

Gelato University, Outside Bologna, Teaches the World to Make Gelato!

No, this is not a picture of Gelato University, this is one of the many gelateri in Italy and around the world. Wherever you live, in the U.S. or abroad, you may have noticed an uptick in new gelateria opening up. There is a boom in this Italian treat, and the enrollment figures at Gelato University in Anzola dell’Emilia, outside Bologna, prove it. This year, 12,000 students have come from around the world to learn the craft of gelato making, from places as far as as Madagascar and Japan. That’s up from 9,000 students last year! Also, for the first time ever, more than half the students this year are foreign, that is, non-Italian. Talk about the perfect excuse for travel to Italy! The school is run by Carpigiana, one of Italy’s leading gelato-machine makers. For just under $1,200 a week, you can enroll at Gelato University and learn how […]

The World Loves Italian Food As Much As Italy!

My May issue of Bon Appetit Magazine arrived the other day, later than usual because I’d just started a subscription. On the cover (not shown, that’s a stock photo): an enticing bowl of pasta. On the top, in bright red letters, THE ITALY ISSUE. By coincidence, I was rearranging my cookbook collection, which includes a shelf of food magazines going back years. As I went through the magazines, I saw one cover devoted to Italy, and Italy travel. Saveur, Gourmet (RIP, oh wonderful one!), Taste, a magazine published by Williams-Sonoma at the turn of the millennium. So, why all this Italy attention? Because Italy travel sells! Because people love Italy! They love the food. They love Italy travel. Yes, Italy is the bomb! Of course, we know that. That’s why we’re here. I’m thinking this May issue of Bon Appetit has made way for the June issue but you can […]

Italian Gelato Festival in Florence Next Week!

Love gelato? Who doesn’t! Every year towards the end of May the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence hosts a Gelato Festival. This successful event has been has been going from strength to strength since 2010 and is now one of the most anticipated dates in Italian food lovers diaries.  For 2013 there is the additional exciting news that Firenze Gelato Tour is going to travel throughout the country, to spread the word about artisan gelato culture. Stands are set up in some of the prettiest squares in the historic center of Florence. Both small artisan and larger commercial producers will be in attendance so you can test your favorite classic flavors and some new exciting ones. The way the festival works is like this; You purchase a card that entitles you five tastings a various sites throughout the festival. Also included is a Gelato guide, a totebag and free entrance […]

Chowhound Italy Board: Where the Serious Foodies Hang

One thing we like to do at Tour Italy Now is bring you the best of what’s on the Web. For anyone who’s planning a trip to Italy, or dreaming about one, a great place for sussing out seriously delicious restaurants in Italy is Chowhound Italy Board. For the uninitiated, Chowhound is one of the oldest online communities. It was started in 1997 by Jim Leff. He sold it to CNET.com in 2006. The site is grouped by locale and topic. I stumbled upon the Chowhound Italy board the other day as I researched places to eat before my trip to Italy, and had a great time clicking around threads started by people asking about the best restaurants in Rome or Milan or Bologna or, an ever-popular topic, the best gelateria in Florence or some other city. Someone asked for a suggestion for a wedding gift, a gift certificate to […]