When you think of Italian food, the first two things that probably spring to mind are pizza and pasta. Which is why expats who arrive in Italy are often surprised to discover it is home to a wide range of delicious traditional food – and if you’re not into ‘carbs’, you’ll definitely still find plenty to enjoy.
The variety of Italian food is directly related to the region from which it comes. Italy is divided up into 20 distinct regions and each region has their own recipes and ways of cooking the same dish. Here’s what you can expect to find in some of the different regions of Italy:
Food you can find in Italy’s different regions
Tuscany is famous for its wonderful wines, but it’s also home to pizza and there are many different types of this favourite dish. Pizza al taglio is sliced pizza and it is the ideal takeaway food eaten by busy tourists and residents. There are two types of pizza –Neopolitan-style pizza or Roman-style pizza. Neopolitan-style pizza has a thick, fluffy crust and tends to be smaller in diameter whereas Roman-style pizza has a paper-thin crust and is much larger.
Tuscany is also home to many different types of pork products, wonderful seafood dishes and Modena’s world-famous balsamic vinegar.
Naples is also renowned for pizza, but their pizza is folded into quarters and then served in a napkin – so it’s eaten like a sandwich. Naples was the first place to add tomato sauce to the pizza and history reports that when the Italian Queen Margherita came to the region in 1889, she demanded to taste the dish that the locals were eating – pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil – the origin of the famous Margherita pizza!
The Northern regions
Here you will find polenta and rice forming the staples of many dishes with lots of use of butter and cream. The Liguia region is famous for its basil pesto sauce and sweetly cured hams are eaten in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Other meats eaten in the northern countryside include grouse, rabbit, quail and as you move closer to the sea – seafood and shellfish. Porcini mushrooms are also very popular as is Fonduta – a mix of melting cheese with the addition of milk and eggs.
A traditional dish in Sicily is Pasta con le sarde, which includes onions, fennel, raisins, toasted pine nuts and sardines! Sicily is also home to countless fish and shellfish dishes as locals fish them fresh from the seas surrounding the island.
Rome is home to a favourite dish of western expats – spaghetti alla carbonara and many delicious meat dishes featuring lamb and rosemary. Rome is also famous for the bruschetta – a thinly sliced baguette that is toasted, rubbed with garlic and then sprinkled with salt and olive oil.
The landlocked region of Umbria is famous for its pasta – in particular spaghetti and black truffle oil. Truffles grow naturally throughout Umbria, but you’ll only find fresh truffles in your dishes in the autumn – the rest of the year they are either imported or frozen.
Rice is a popular basis for dishes which include mushrooms, seafood and wild bird. Risi e Bisi – a traditional dish using rice and peas is also a favourite, often enjoyed with calf’s liver that has been fried with onions.
No matter where you are settling in Italy, prepare yourself for a gastronomic feast made from the freshest local ingredients accompanied by excellent wines and great company.
If you’re thinking of immigrating to Italy and need any advice about your financial emigration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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