Italian food: nine that you have to try
It's no secret that the food in Italy is incredible. It also shouldn't come as a surprise that we highly enjoyed sampling the cuisine during our trip in 2015. Out of everything we ate, a few (well, nine...) meals stood out to us and we've listed below what we recommend you try (and in some cases, where to find it).
Nº 1 - PIZZA
We visited L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele in Naples for a slice of pizza straight from the wood-fired oven. Julia Roberts ate hers here during the film 'Eat, Pray, Love'. At €4.50 for a medium pizza (which barely fit in the very large box it came in), this place is excellent value for money whether you eat in or take away. The menu is simple - margherita or marinara - service is brisk, not brusque; the staff are efficient and proud dab hands in the art of pizza making. Simply get to the door, take a ticket (remembering your number and colour, depending on if you are a sit-down or takeaway guest) and wait your turn.
Nº 2 - GNOCCHI ALLA SORRENTINA
Sorrento's small potato dumplings with fresh mozzarella and a basil-infused tomato sauce are a delight. L'Abate is good for a cheap, light lunch and it is situated in the Piazza Sant’Antonino - a great spot for people watching. They also do a creamy salmon variety which is just as tasty.
Nº 3 - lemons
The size of the lemons in Italy impressed us before we had the chance to taste them... Matt is partial to a shot of limoncello after dinner, but Rachel's favourite lemon dish was 'Grandmother's Cake' - a dessert not on the menu but offered in a little restaurant in Vernazza, Ristorante La Torre.
Nº 4 - BUFFALO MOZZARELLA
Traditionally produced in Campania, this cheese is typically served in salads, melted in lasagne or used as a topping for pasta dishes. We visited Inn Buffalito in Sorrento, which boasts high quality buffalo mozzarella as its staple food, and had a delicious tomato and mozzarella goo to dip crusty warm bread into. At Enoteca Provincia Romana in Rome (which is now called Terre e Domus), we had a cold platter of cheesy and meaty goodness.
Nº 5 - pesto
Silky with oil and fresh basil, you can't go wrong with a simple spaghetti with pesto to fill a hungry stomach.
Nº 6 - STUFFED MUSSELS
We tried this dish on our first night in Vernazza at La Torre (who also served us the Grandmother's Cake above) Stuffed with breadcrumbs, garlic, parmesan and herbs, these mussels impressed Matt so much that he even had them twice in one day. You can find varieties of stuffed mussels across this rugged Ligurian coastline and you will not be disappointed.
Nº 7 - SEAFOOD PASTA
Squid-ink pasta, prawn linguine... it's all delicious.
Nº 8 - dessertS
One of our favourite places to buy an ice cream was Antica Gelateria Sorrentina 1860 in Sorrento. The elderly lady who ran the gelateria grew lemons and oranges in her garden and she allowed us to try over half the flavours! We visited her a lot over our three days in Sorrento...
Matt is a big fan of panna cotta and he swore that every one he ate in various restaurants in Italy (and he had a lot) was delicious.
Nº 9 - SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT
We were keen to visit Ristorante Miky, a Michelin-guide restaurant in Monterosso of Cinque Terre. With a reasonably priced lunch menu, we visited to try one of their signature dishes. Pasta is cooked in a ceramic bowl and covered over with dough which is then set alight to create a bread, used to mop up any leftover sauce!