One of the first things people ask upon mentioning travel to Italy is the food. Italy is food.
Eating in Italy will measure up to any culinary fantasy. Ignore the guide books and just eat, any place you stumble onto from street food to cafes, to simple pizza to fine dining – every morsel is a delight. Do however trust the guidebooks and order appropriately:
At the very least, pick three. Order some type of appetizer or first course, a main course and dessert. Don’t say it, my fingers are in my ears, la la la la la. But nothing, screw the concept of diet and forget calorie counting. Eat. You don’t have to gorge but embrace every forkful, hold it in your mouth, measure each flavor and enjoy. In Italy food nourishes the body and soul. Even bottled water tastes better, it is better. This is italian food in Italy, good clean pure food. Not the over processed, heavy, pile-on-the-bad-rubbery-cheese, slathered up American versions. I promise, ordering all three will not have you in a food coma or undoing the top button of your pants. Real food in Italy is far from what one might be used to. For starters, portions are appropriate. This main lunch portion of the most amazing melt-in-your-mouth white spinach lasagna you’ve ever eaten was not the least bit heavy or too much. Eating is about enjoying the flavors, not a race to devour the plate. The whole slower attitude may also have something to do with why one doesn’t feel stuffed at the end of a complete meal. Share. Dining in Italy is a communal event, portions are made to be shared. No matter what you order someone else at your table will have something equally delectable. When in Italy, immerse yourself and just be. Leave the diet at home, in the sense of ignore the daily trends proclaiming eat only this, don’t eat any of that.
Give your mind and body a reprieve from current fear of eating which has permeated the American vernacular. Enjoy! Accept a slower pace, lingering over a meal and eating a prosciutto, cheese and fresh bread at breakfast. Trust me this won’t have you returning from vacation with extra pounds and ill fitting clothes as your souvenirs. However, it may leave you with a whole new appreciation for Italian food and the Mediterranean diet you may have heard about. Don’t forget the wine or the aperitifs. Italy has 20 regions which produce wine, most well know are Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont. The most recognized Italian wines are Prosecco, Amarone, Chianti, Moscato and Pinot Grigio (actually a grape) so chances are one can easily figure out what to order. If not, just ask, Italians know wine. Italian wines are good. This small production white Ribolla Giallo wine from Poggilbello was spectacular, the right amount of citrus and mineral aspects make this a very stylish wine to serve with dinner.
Italian wines in Italy are better.
On our trip one of the women did not drink wine… in America, “it never tastes good.” In Italy she was enjoying wine at lunch and dinner. Strolling the streets is a feast for the eyes. These meringues are huge, more like the size of a small hat. The only way to eat like an Italian in Italy is to eat and enjoy!