by Guest Blogger Rebecca Crawford of Hiking Mastery!
Top Delicious Reasons to visit Italy! We know Italy is great for sightseeing, hiking, beaches and beautiful scenery. But it is also world-renowned for its food. There are 20 different regions in Italy, and they all have a signature dish.
In this article, we are going to take you on a tour of Italy, food style, and discuss some of the top dishes within this amazing European country. So, grab your fork, because this is going to be a tasty read!
The Lombardy region of Italy is known for not only the fashionable Milan, but osso bucco and risotto. This region is known for making many dishes with rice versus the popular pasta. Risotto is a rice dish that can include various other foods like onion, cheese, shallot, mushrooms, or with no frills.
You follow the recipe until the liquid is all gone and the rice is al dente. You will also use broth in many recipes with can be from beef or vegetables.
Osso bucco is braised veal shanks. It is made with items like white wine and vegetables. The food’s name translates to bone with a hole, which is generally centered on the plate. This dish is most often served with the above risotto as a side.
This northern region is also known for the many cheese like Blue Veined Gorgonzola and Provolone, as well as Gran Padano. Many of these cheeses can be used when making risotto or osso bucco.
This northern Italian region’s capital is Bologna, where many famous foods are from. This area likes meat and pasta, and is a region known for curing meats. It’s also famous for the delicious Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
In this region, tortellini is popular, along with both balsamic vinegar of Modena and Bolognese sauce. Tortellini is a pasta that is shaped in a ring. You can boil this pasta and make it into a carbonara, primavera, or use a Parmesan cream sauce.
You can also make the locally known Bolognese sauce, which is a mixture of bacon, vegetables, mushrooms, and herbs heated into a pot with water. One other famous sauce there is the balsamic vinegar Modena which has a main ingredient of white Trebbiano grape juice and is made by boiling it over fire for several hours.
If you can’t get enough tortellini and want to take it on the trail with you, be aware of wild animals. They can smell food and will come to your location. Using the best odor-proof bags will keep wild animals away so you can have some tortellini as you camp out in Italy.
Most regions in Italy have their own cheese. The Tuscan region has Pecorino cheese, which is made of sheep’s milk. They love salt free bread and use fine olive oils and meats. Here, Chianti wine and steak alla fiorentina is king.
Steak alla fiorentina is what many call a Porterhouse steak that is grilled to rare condition, over a wood fire. You will only use salt and olive oil while cooking the steak. While cooking, air must circulate around the steak, because it needs to dry.
Pair this with some Chianti wine and some vegetables and you have a great meal!
The Lazio region is in central Italy and is well known for its pasta, artichokes and zucchini, as well as porchetta. This region is known for the foods artichokes alla Romana, bruschetta, and spaghetti alla carbonara, which we will go over below.
Artichokes alla Romana are made with mint, garlic, oregano and olive oil. It is then cut in half and cooked until done.
Bruschetta is world known and it consists of antipasto with bread and garlic along with some salt and olive oil. You can top this dish with literally anything from tomatoes meats, cheeses, beans and other vegetables.
Spaghetti alla carbonara is made with bacon, garlic cloves and salt to taste. You will use egg in this dish as well. Many also throw in some meats like meatballs or pork, along with cheese custards.
This region is the home of pizza! Here, some of the best tomatoes, the San Marzano tomatoes, are grown along with eggplant, figs, lemons and more. The capital city here is Naples, the birthplace of pizza.
We all know that pizza is a round or square piece of cooked dough that includes tomato sauce and many toppings. This region is also home of the calzone, which is like pizza but is folded over with the contents within.
Buffalo mozzarella cheese and limoncello liqueur, which is lemon flavored liquor, are also from the Campania region.
Sicily is the largest island in the entire Mediterranean Sea and is located in southern Italy. This area is known for lemons, olives, almonds and blood oranges. Pork is popular here, along with veal, and the locals like to use a lot of tomato sauce in their dishes as well as eggplant.
Caponata is famous here because of the locally grown eggplant. It is made with other vegetables like tomatoes and celery. The eggplant is fried and given sweet vinegar along with some capers. They also make a sweet and sour sauce to pour over it.
Veal Marsala is made with veal, or if you want you can make chicken Marsala. The meat can be interchanged. You will cook the meat until done and serve with the Marsala carmelization. Marsala is a wine that is used to give you a rich flavor in your dish.
It is very sweet. Once your veal is done and the wine is caramelized you are ready to eat!
While Italy is absolutely stunning and offers a lot to travelers, many people go there to experience the food. As you can see, these dishes are amazing and made from locally grown foods that are popular in that area. Each region is known for different dishes, which makes them unique, and makes us want to tour each region and try a dish or two!