There’s a good reason Italy’s cuisine is available all over the world. It is fantastic and one of the best reasons to visit Italy! But to make the Italian dining experience as memorable as possible, travelers should order the specialties of the region. Here are a few tips about what to eat and drink while in Italy and where to try them.
WHAT TO EAT AND WHERE:
Northern Italy – Much of northeastern Italy is dominated by fresh seafood and seasonal produce, while northwestern Italy’s cuisine is influence by the Alpine region and features hearty meats and cheeses.
- Seafood antipasto
- Costalette alla Milanese (breaded veal fried in butter)
- Local cheeses including Gorgonzola, Marscapone and Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Wines from the Fruili
Central Italy – The food in central Italy is simple but hearty, often featuring tomatoes, beans, ham and salami.
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- Balsamic Vinegar
- White wines
Southern Italy – Once the poorest part of Italy, those who lived here largely survived on a vegetarian diet. Southern Italy presents diverse cuisine as well as some of Italy’s best known flavors made from spices like oregano, rosemary and basil, as well as sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
- Neapolitan pizza
- Olives and olive oil
- Eggplant parmigiana
- Local cheese including Provolone, Ricotta, Mozzarella and Burrata
WHAT TO DRINK:
Limoncello – The abundance of lemon trees in southern Italy have made the region famous for this sweet, yellow liqueur made from lemon rinds. Limoncello is typically served chilled as an after dinner digestive.
Chianti – Tuscany and Chianti are practically synonymous. The Chianti region spans from Florence to Siena with seven production areas. Of these regions, Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina are produced in accordance with stricter standards.
Prosecco – Prosecco is Italy’s answer to refreshing, well-made sparkling wine at a reasonable price. Sip this fizzy wine with Italian tapas, called cicheti.