I’m not a food critic, but I know what I like!
It occurred to me, whilst writing about the meals I enjoyed in Serbia, that I have sampled a wide array of foods on my travels. Moreover, given that I profess to know enough about the places I visit to recommend them to you lovely people, it also stands to reason that I should throw some delicious foreign delicacies your way too!
To begin with, I thought I’d hit you with a list of dishes I’ve enjoyed in Italy. It’s easy, when you think about Italian food, to limit your scope to pizza and pasta, but should you? If you’re in Italy, then my advice would be absolutely not! The cuisine is incredibly varied and well worth exploring!
Here are my first five Italian food recommendations. I hope that at least one of them will make you forget the culinary wonders that are pasta and pizza. Enjoy!
- Caprese salad
A Caprese salad is an extremely simple dish hailing from the Campania region of Italy.
It is made up of segments of tomato, as a base, sliced mozzarella, above it, and fresh basil atop of the delicate stack. With a little olive oil and seasoning, that’s the whole recipe!
Fresh ingredients are the key to a great Caprese salad and Italian restaraunts, or at least the ones I’ve been to, always seem to nail it bang on the head. I thoroughly recommend it as a starter or, in larger quantities, as a somewhat healthy option for your main course!
Arancini is something of a ‘leftovers dish’. It’s a way to recycle the risotto rice which you didn’t finish up, not that there’s ever been excess uneaten risotto in my household!
Don’t worry though, for a low-cost cheap dish Arancini is plenty indulgent. It is now a staple of the Sicilian diet and an absolutely fantastic snack. Said to be derived from Arabic cuisine, Arancini is essentially a ball of rice which has been fried in breadcrumbs. It is, quite frankly, divine.
Although I’m quite sure I have understated the complexity of the cooking, and artistry of the execution, I know I’ve accurately described how good Arancini tastes! You’ve got to try it!
- Fritto misto
The term fritto misto quite literally means ‘mixed fried’. It is an apt description!
Most often the dish is made up of seafood and vegetables which have been dusted in flour and then fried until golden. Quality seafood is an intrinsic part of Italian cuisine, a fact you could easily miss if you focused too much on the pastas and pizzas of this world.
Fritto misto, whilst similar to pescaito frito in Spain, stands in its own right as a fantastic dish and I can’t help but recommend it!
- Parmigiana di melanzane
Parmigiana di melanzane is an absolutely delightful dish and also happens to be vegetarian.
It’s origin is widely debated; however, it’s deliciousness is not so often. Made from aubergine, or eggplant for you American folk, a rich tomato sauce, and parmesan cheese, it is a wonderfully tasty and delicately layered dish. Parmigiana di melanzane is, to me at least, somewhat similar to a vegetarian lasagna, although I’m sure that comparison would curl the toes of any Italian purist chef!
If you are a vegetarian, or just enthusiastic about good food, definitely give it a taste!
- Stracciatella gelato
Gelato is one of the singular most delectable and varied deserts the world has ever seen.
Invented by an Italian chef as early as the late 1600s, the dessert is still widely enjoyed throughout Italy. In fact, Italy is the only country where artisanal gelato holds market share over mass-produced gelato! Quality over quantity may never have been better embodied.
Stracciatella is one of the most iconic gelato flavours, alongside my favourite, pistachio, and deserves its place as the fifth item on my list! Plain ice cream is drizzled with liquid chocolate, which then freezes, and creates shreds of sed chocolate in the mix!
It is delicious and an absolutely classic Italian desert. Like most of the items on the list, it is wonderfully simple and yet fabulously tasty!
I hope I’ve shown you a little of the variety that exists under the umbrella term of Italian cuisine. I hope to write more of this type of post in the future so do let me know if you guys have any comments, tips, or recommendations, to make this style of post better. Just pop any such suggestions down at the bottom of the page and I’ll get back to ya. Ciao!