Are you tired of eating at your local pizza chains and cannot help but imagine what the real taste of Italy is like?
The local heritage and history mainly dominate the taste of Italy. The seasons and the local availability of ingredients and raw materials also influence the taste of Italy.
History is indeed one of the most influential factors when it comes to Italian foods. Labors, peasants, and even members of the royal court have influenced the gastronomy. Most of the gourmet foods of Italy that are now reigning over the world came to existence from bizarre incidents.
Courses of Italy
To know the taste of Italy, you need to know about the courses here. The structure of an Italian menu goes like antipasto, primo, secondos, and dessert.
Antipasto meaning appetizers, and so on. Typical Italian dishes include carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, and contorni, which means side dish. Now, these vary from region to region.
There is a vast difference between Italian dishes and the so-called renowned Italian dishes you get at your local Italian restaurants. We will get to that later, but you will realize that pizza and pasta are a prominent part of Italy but not essentially their staple food.
Coming back to the authentic dishes of Italy, the only bad significantly bad about this cuisine is that you cannot stuff everything in your stomach! The hazardous part is choosing what you want to eat.
Italy is such a place where there is not such a thing as bad food. Everything is lip-smacking and is bound to make you drool. So what should you try out on your Italy trip to get that bona fide taste of Italy?
Here are a few dishes that will give you the unerring taste of Italy. Also, there will be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variety in this list to choose according to your taste!
Taste of Italy: Top Dishes
Pizza needs no special introduction as it is the epitome of Italian taste. But are you aware of the fact that Italian pizzas are on a whole new level and has no similarity with your local pizzerias?
Who knew bread with spices and sauces would be so iconic and well-renowned all around the globe? But even before the unification of Italy, pizza represented itself as the most humble food of the country!
History of Italian Pizzas
Fun fact: Tomato sauce was not an original ingredient in Italian pizzas; It was added for the first time in Naples!
Back in 1889, the reigning queen of Italy- Queen Margherita, was out on tour to see the hustle and bustle of her kingdom. A local entrepreneur offered her the iconic Margherita pizza. Back then, it didn’t have this name and was just a combination of bread, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil leaves!
The queen was mesmerized by the creation, and your favorite flavor came into being. Did you know the colors of a Margherita pizza are the colors of the Italian flag as well? People do not know whether that just a coincidence or design!
Types of Italian pizza
Essentially Italian style pizza can be classified into-
Neopolitan-style pizza: Exclusive to Naples, Neopolitan style pizza is to be eaten with a fork and knife! But it is an absolute assurance that once you consume this one, you cannot go back to your local Dominos or Pizza Hut!
From a thick, fluffy crust to mozzarella cheese filling- there is nothing to dislike about this pizza.
Roman-style pizza: This is more like your local pizzeria and has a paper crust topped with pepperoni or chicken and ample cheese! Usually, the pizzas served by your local chains have a style that resembles the Roman-style Pizza.
If you are an ardent lover of the taste of Italy, then you have to love Bottarga! Bottarga can be mainly defined as the eggs of the rats of the sea, but smoked! Don’t be intimidated by this definition and try to think of it as the ‘Italian caviar’!
Tasting this Italian delicacy is updating your profile culturally. From August to September, the Southern parts of Italy preserve the roe from select Grey Mullets! The eggs are salted, pressed, and dried.
It’s okay if you do not like the taste of bottarga first, but once you start enjoying this delicacy- there is no going back! Bottarga is used as a condiment over pasta and brings out a smoky and salty flavor, just like truffles.
Originating from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Lasagna was once considered the food of a common man but is now an exquisite taste of Italy. The original Italian Lasagna had no tomato sauce.
The original ingredients were béchamel sauce, a mixture of mozzarella and Parmigiano cheeses, and ragù. The tomato sauce was an addition from New York back in the 16th century. Even today, the authentic Italian places do not use sauce!
Though Lasagna is a taste of Italy and found throughout the country, you should experience a hearty Lasagna meal in the Emilia-Romagna region at least once in your life.
4. Fiorentina Steak
A bistecca fiorentina is the authentic taste of Italy! This Florentine T-Bone steak needs some specific ingredients and has all the characteristics of an Italian dish. The steak piece needs to be cut from the loin of a Chianina cow raised in Tuscany!
It has to be cooked from five to seven minutes. The outside needs to be charred while the inside of the Florentine steak should be rare. While in Tuscany, please try to enrich your taste buds with an authentic bistecca fiorentina dish.
Warning: While ordering, keep in mind that this dish is to be eaten by 3-4 people. An authentic bistecca fiorentina steak almost weights 1-2 kg.
Nowadays, the people of Florence tend to try meat in their steak other than the Chianina cow, but that will always be the authentic taste of Italy.
Though many people consider pasta to be the staple food of Italy, polenta has been here even before the arrival of pasta! Mainly originating from the North-Italian cities, Polenta is the go-to comfort food for many Italians!
A corn mush without the usage of corn- sounds like magic. But the fact is corn is not a grain of Europe, and this dish was made from various starch type grains that were available nearby. But the taste is identical to the corn dishes of Southern parts of the USA.
However, Corn was introduced to European countries from the 16th century onwards, and since then, it became one of the essential ingredients of polenta. Before that, acorns and buckwheat were the main grains used.
One of the main features of polenta is that any meat can accompany it! The polenta of Milan, Turin, Venice, is iconic all over the world. Though Polenta mainly lost to Pasta for its bland texture, you would fall in love with this dish if you try it out for the first time.
It is a comforting taste of Italy that is to be eaten beside the fireplace when the temperature drops!
Rice, meat, and cheese- This holy trinity is the main story of risotto. You might think that Italians don’t consume rice with all that pasta and pizza lying around, but here’s where you are so wrong!
The biggest producer of rice in the European market- Italy has several rice infused dishes up in its sleeves too. The cities located in the south of Italy might think bread is their staple food, but the North Italian towns like Lombardy and Piedmont surely break this tradition.
Flavorful, aromatic rice cooked in the meat stock of your preference and boiled until it forms a thick, rich dish full of flavors- Risotto will win your heart for sure. To make risotto, rice varieties like Arborio and Carneroli are usually given the first preference.
Alla Milanese or saffron-infused risotto is the most iconic plate of Milan. There is a story behind its creation. The story goes like when building the Cathedral of Milan, and the worker was using saffron for coloring the wall. They figured they should boil rice with it too!
Risotto al nero di sepia, which is basically cuttlefish in risotto, and risi e bisi, which is pancetta in risotto, are two of the authentic risotto variations that you must indulge in during your trip to Venice.
Let’s face some real facts- people mainly eat pizzas and plates of pasta when vacationing in Italy. We figured out that we must add the most sensational pasta variant on our list too!
Don’t forget to add this authentic taste of Italy to your bucket list as no one makes Carbonara better than Italians. It might sound controversial, but spaghetti, pecorino cheese, black peppers, runny eggs, cured guanciale- it is impossible to go wrong when all of these flavors are mixed.
Italians use some variations of this and use cream cheese and bacon sometimes to enrich the taste. While trying out a carbonara, do not opt for a five-star restaurant as they are most likely to get the recipe wrong. Always choose to eat from a local and gift your taste buds this incredible taste of Italy!
Truffles- this elusive fungus has grown to be one of the most popular and exotic food items worldwide. Found in abundance all over Italy, this can be considered an original taste of Italy.
Truffles are mainly of two types- White Truffle and Black Truffle. Technically speaking, the White Truffle is diverse in flavor and much more aromatic than the Black Truffle. Needless to say, it is on the pricey side too.
Umbria, Tuscany, and Piedmont are the Truffle locations of Italy. If you choose to visit Italy in the fall, then that is the best time to taste those truffles. Otherwise, you will just get frozen truffles, and the taste will be nothing in comparison to the fresh ones!
A vacation to Italy is not complete without roaming around in the streets of Rome with a gelato in hand! If you are living in the States, you might have tasted gelato once or twice in the summers. But while in Italy, you should savor this unique taste of Italy every chance you get.
The texture of gelato is wholesome, and the flavor is diverse. While ice cream is mixed with air and water to make it last long, gelato is dense indeed! It almost melts in your mouth, and you feel a delightful flavor-bomb going off in the tip of your tongues!
Spread out in various colors, and gelatos are bound to give you a foodgasm. Moreover, they are seasonal and based on several exotic fruits of that particular season. Gelatos of Rome, Milan, and Florence are world-renowned.
Tirasimu might look simple, but looks can be deceptive. This exclusive taste of Italy is another hidden gem in the Italian world of sweets. Gelato is not the only thing that has conquered our hearts.
Cold cookies, cream, and coffee- What could even go wrong with these three ingredients? But Italians add a whole new flavor to this no-bake parfait dish. Made up of layers of coffee-soaked cookies and sweetened mascarpone cheese- you feel like you are biting into a cloud as soon as you taste this!
Italians prefer to use premium quality mascarpone cheese and coffee to make the tiramisu. Originating from the 1960s, Tiramisu can be called an Italian heart-throb! Moreover, some people use cake instead of the cookies and add egg whites to the mascarpone cheese to make it fluffier!
What are your thoughts and confessions about the taste of Italy? Are you team Neopolitan-style Pizza or Roman-style Pizza? Let us know everything down in the comment section, and you might want to know about some incredible Italian places for your next trip after this article!