When thinking about an Italian vacation the focus for many tourists is food.
Food is a huge part of Italian culture! But, before we keep talking about Italian food, we need to get a misconception out of the way. Italian food is not only pasta. We know that when people think about Italian food their first thing to pop in their head is pizza or pasta. But, there is a whole Italian menu that is not focused on pasta. Italian food culture is very fascinating and different from the typical stereotype that is painted inside many people’s heads. We will talk about delicious Italian dishes for every meal of the day. We will include breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, street snacks and desserts! Just reading about them will make your mouth watery and get you daydreaming about the foods that you will eat during vacation.
Italian breakfast is very light but tasty. It is very different from an American breakfast. The main element here is coffee, which is also present throughout most meals. Most of us need a little energy booster in the morning, Italian coffee is the best way to get that in while traveling. The typical Italian coffee is Caffe which is simply a shot of espresso. You can also try Caffe Macchiato, which has a drop of milk or Caffelatte, which is an espresso shot in a large glass with milk. If you want to treat yourself then opt in for a Cappuccino. This consists of a double shot of espresso, creamy milk and extra foamy milk. If you are not a fan of coffee, then you can go for green tea or hot chocolate. All breakfast drinks make a great pair with all Italian breakfast foods. Most of the time, Italian breakfast is a mix of sweet and salty.
The traditional breakfast food is bread and butter or bread and jam.
You can also try some delightful Crepes. Crepes in Italy are different from the French type. They’re thinner and crispier, but it is one of the most common European breakfast options. You can pick what type of filling you want: Nutella, fruit, chocolate, ricotta, mushrooms, or spinach. Another classic food is Croissants. The Italian version is soft and contains less butter. It’s a very simple and an appetizing choice. If you want something more salty then Frittatas is your go-to. Frittatas are like a Quiche, so they consist of meats, cheese and an egg-base. This is a great savory and filling option for breakfast. Biscotti makes the perfect pair with a hot morning coffee. This is a sweet almond based cookie. It is very crunchy, so most people love to dip it in their morning coffee to make it a little bit softer but still keep a crunchy feeling. There are many breakfast options to try out during your trip! All of them are quite simple and very appetizing.
Lunch as Italian
In Italy, portions may be small, but all meals come with more than one course. The courses included with lunch are a primo, a secondo, contorno, and a dolci. A primo is the soup or pasta being served. Pasta alla Norma displays Italy’s simplicity with only about four ingredients: ricotta, basil, tomatoes, and eggplant (AND of course the pasta). Simple and delicious! Spaghetti Aglio E Olio is a garlicky pasta with the sharpness of pecorino cheese. A secondo includes the meat. Some of the popular choices include a tender beef cut or a type of seafood such as mussels or scallops. Contorno is the vegetables of your lunch, and some Italian classics include tender eggplant or radicchio. A dolci is our favorite part… dessert! Of course there is gelato, a lower dairy Italian ice cream that can be found in thousands of flavors. The infamous Tiramisu is also our favorite. If you want to spice it up, you can find this delicious dessert spiked with a drop of liqueur. We’ll go more in depth about desserts under its section!
There is a plethora of different types of street food around Italy. The country allows anyone to find something they love, even when you just need a quick bite to eat while you’re out shopping! Here are some of our favorite street snacks. Pizza con Patate is basically a pizza with potatoes. It sounds extremely lackluster, but we promise it’s a delicious snack for anyone, even the picky eaters. Plum muffins are a staple sweet treat that you can find just about anywhere! In Italy, we enjoy simplicity and that can be displayed in our street sandwiches. You’ll find no pickles, mayo, or mustard… you’ll simply find bread and a delicious cured meat. Can be called Focaccia or Panino con Salame. Of course, we have Pizza al Taglio which is pizza by the slice. Our last couple favorites include Ciambelle (an Italian soft pretzel), and the cheesy Arancini, which is a fried rice ball usually filled with risotto, gooey cheese, and meats. It really doesn’t get better than street food in Italy.
Like we’ve mentioned before, Italian recipes don’t have to be complicated to be good. You can’t go wrong with marinated olives, which come with several types of olives that have been marinated in high quality olive oil and seasonings. Cecilia flatbread is vegan and gluten free! It’s made out a chickpea flour and has a light fluffy texture. Fried polenta is a simple fried cornmeal dish that you won’t be able to get enough of before your meal. Many appetizers will come just like a charcuterie board; full of beautiful cheeses, meats, and other hand foods. Bruschetta al Fegatino, Pomodoro, and Fagioli are most popular. Fegatino is a liver paste, Pomodoro is tomatoes, and Fagioli is beans; all of these are placed on top of a flaky and crisp piece of bread, or commonly known as Bruschetta throughout Italy. Make sure not to spoil your meal with these tempting and delicious Italian appetizers!
Dinner time in Italy, and most of Europe, is considered late for Americans. In Italy, dinner is usually served at 9 pm. We already know how an Italian meal is structured so let’s dive in to the dishes that you must try! Lasagne is a favorite dish for many. It consists of several layers of pasta noodles, with meat, cheese, ragu and bechamel sauce. If you are not in the mood for pasta, then try Fiorentina Steak. This meat is prepared in a very specific way. It has a thick cut so most of the time it is served medium-rare. This is a simple dish that pairs up great with a glass of wine. Another great option is Ribollita. This a delicious soup that mainly consists of vegetables, and added bread to give it a thick consistency. This dish is mainly eaten in the first course because it is light and savory. We saved the best for last, Pizza! In Italy, you will have two styles of Pizza to pick from: Neapolitan style or Roman style. Neapolitan has a thicker crust, but it is smaller than the Roman style. Neapolitan style is a little bit more filling than the Roman style. Roman style usually has a thin crust but it’s much larger than Neapolitan. Also, a traditional way to eat pizza in Italy is to have fewer toppings, the simpler the better!
For my sweet tooth peeps, this will be your favorite section! Italy has a long list of savory desserts to pick from. Obviously Gelato is the most common one, but you will be surprised to find other amazing desserts. One of the most popular desserts is Tiramisu. This is a combination of coffee, mascarpone, and cocoa. The combinations of those three flavors are mouth-watering. Tiramisu is most likely found at every restaurant that you go to, so it’s not hard to find. If you love pies, then Crostata is a must. This is a fruit-filling pie with a very soft crust and a neat top crust presentation. The most traditional fruit-filling are berries or apricots. One of the most famous Italian pastries is Sfogliatella. It’s built by several layers of thin dough, and it usually has a custard or berries filling. Panna Cotta is an effortless and delicious dessert. This is a perfect pudding decorated with red berries. It can also be savored with sweet Marsala or rum to give it an extra tasty kick.