Traveling has become more and more accessible, and for the gastronomically adventurous among us, this has opened up a world of possibilities. Taking a culinary tour is brilliant fun, and there is no place in the world that is better to do this than Italy. You’ll find Saga has some great ideas for tours ensuring that groups or solo travelers have a sensational experience. So whether you’re after family friendly fun, singles holidays or on a romantic getaway, here are some staple dishes from some staple cities you must try.
Venice is defined by its waterways, so seafood is a must. Sarde in saor is a Venetian specialty that literally translates to sardines in flavor. A dish of fried sardines served with onions, raisins and pine nuts, this dish is salty, sweet and rich with saor. If you’re up for for trying something totally different, order a cuttlefish dish – which is usually soup, risotto or pasta. Frequently cooked in its ink, the cuttlefish has a distinct and fresh sea flavor, and though the look of it may not appeal (it turns everything to black!), this is a well-loved ingredient in this region.
Though you can find great pizza all over Italy, Naples is the birthplace of this dish. The margherita is the most traditional choice, a simple pizza with just mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, but you will find more than enough variety to keep you happy. For something a little different, try the parmigiana melanzane, made with thinly sliced aubergine which is fried and then layered with a tomato sauce and topped with delicious Campania mozzarella.
Rome’s signature dish is one that most people would recognise; spaghetti carbonara. This classic creation is supposed to be at its best when eaten in Italy’s cultural heart. Spaghetti dressed with egg, pepper, thick chunks of pancetta and grated pecorino, this is a decadent and filling dish that will hit the spot after a fascinating day of touring the sights.
There’s no shortage of fancy chefs and Michelin starred restaurants in Milan due to its role as the financial hub of Italy, and its reputation for drawing the international fashionable elite, but the Lombardy region has never been fussy or overly fancy with its food, and the best dishes to try here are Risotto alla Milanese a risotto dish made with saffron (giving it a bright yellow colour), ox marrow and copious amounts of butter, this is a creamy, warming dish, perfect for when the weather turns a little cooler.
Tuscan cuisine has always has a hearty, home-cooked feel to it, and its signature dishes really show this off to full effect. Ribollita, a vegetable soup that is made with stale bread has a stew-like quality to it, and will do the trick if you’re hungry. However, the pièce de résistance (especially if you love red meat) is Bistecca alla Fiorentina; a grilled T-bone steak usually served medium so that the fats caramelise, this is a decadent but simple dish that will leave you feeling seriously happy.
Find your favorite dish from this list, or discover your own by traveling to Italy. Just don’t forget to try the gelato!