Top Ten List: Food to Try in Italy

  1. Artichoke (Jewish Style) – In Rome we went to the Jewish Quarter because we heard about the history of course and the delicious style of cooking done here. We went to Nonnabetta a restaurant where the recipes are that of a Jewish woman who keeps the authenticity and style of cooking apparent through every dish. The Jewish Style Artichoke came as an appetizer and was a delicious blend of what I can only imagine as olive oil and seasoning grilled to perfection.
  2. Cacio e Pepe – A traditional pasta dish of Rome, Cacio e Pepe or penne pasta with pecorino cheese, butter and pepper. Although it sounds pretty simple, it’s a signature dish in Rome for a reason so is definitely worth an order.
  3. Gelato -I don’t think anyone would forget to get gelato in Italy but if you do have a chance to make it out of the city and want to try some world class gelato, this place really won the world champion of gelato, then you should go to the town of San Gimignano and go to Dondoli. The town is really quaint and friendly and the gelato lives up to the hype.
  4. Granita caffe con panne (frozen espresso) – You can probably get this drink many places in Italy but we were recommended to try it out in Rome at La Casa del Caffe Tazza d’Oro near the Pantheon. It was super crowded but fairly painless to order and enjoy the drink. What it is is a frozen espresso, so slushy espresso, complete with cream on the top and bottom, we were a little unsure at first but once we took a bite it was definitely well worth it and a fun way to enjoy yet another cup of espresso.
  5. Truffled Carpaccio – In Florence we went to the restaurant ZaZa because of some recommendations. We went not knowing really what to expect or order but we soon realized that this restaurant was big into truffled items and even had a separate menu just for the truffled options. We settled on an antipasti of truffled carpaccio which seemed like a weird choice but we were overjoyed when our dish came out and it was one of the best things we had all trip.
  6. Granita/Gelato con Brioche –  Sicily was the last stop on our trip and so every recommendation leading up to Sicily consisted of two things Granita with Brioche and Arancini. The even funnier part about the recommendations is that 3 people not only recommended this option but told us the same cafe to get them at, Savia. We of course had to go there the moment we got to Catania and ordered a Granita and a Gelato (slushy gelato) with Brioche (sweat bread/roll). It was absolutely amazing and a delicious treat especially for breakfast.
  7. Arancini – Which brings me to what an Arancini is. We went to the same spot in Catania but got these all throughout Sicily as well. An Arancini is a fried rice ball with an assortment of different items inside but the most traditional would be marinara sauce, cheese and beef.
  8. Pasta alla Norma – Another traditional pasta dish served in Sicily. It is a dish that consists of pasta with eggplant, ricotta grated semiseca, tomato and basil. We went to Trattoria de Di Friore in Catania to grab this dish. The service was a little slow but extremely friendly and the experience was unforgettable with Mamma Rosanna walking around talking with the guests and cooking all by herself in the kitchen. So my suggestion, order some house wine, sit back and enjoy the atmosphere until your delicious food makes it to you.
  9. Spritz Aperol – A signature cocktail in Italy. Nothing to crazy here other than a sparkling white wine with a splash of aperol which makes a nice cocktail especially when you want to switch it up between wine and beer.
  10. Neapolitan Pizza – Although, Naples isn’t necessary the place you want to stay for vacation it is the place you want to eat. Stop in Naples or go to a  restaurant that makes Neapolitan pizza because it is every bit as good as the Italians claim it is. We went to a famous spot in Naples called Starita which I would highly recommend.

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