Foods of Italy
I just came back from Italy after a 2-week long trip. It was a fabulous experience unraveling a new country and its fantastic cuisine.
A Vegetarian on the Prowl...
Being a vegetarian, did not deter me from trying out the local cuisine for one can get vegetarian and vegan food everywhere in that part of the world. The choices are limited unlike India but vegetarians can happily manage with the food, especially in big cities like Rome and Florence. Pizzas and pastas with pomodoro (tomato) sauce and cheeses were my staple food there. I missed the veggies but got it compensated through dishes like eggplant parmigiana, veggie sandwiches, antipasti with artichokes and its likes. Did not find much risottos in the restaurants we had been too; so missed my favorite rice many times ;) We frequented Indian restaurants in places like Florence, Rome and Venice but Amalfi coast is totally devoid of Indian or for that matter, any other cuisine restaurants, except of course, Italian.
Italy, a country holding on to its traditions
Another thing that impressed me was the emphasis, the locals placed on their traditions and culture including their cuisine. After all, Italy is considered a cultural superpower and the birthplace of western civilisation! Most Italians talk in their mother tongue and English is hardly used in the everyday life. Contrast this with India, where parents prefer their kids to know English rather than their mother tongue! Italians do take pride in their heritage.
In line with the above sentiment, the local food which has a great variety, has been given its due importance. Food chains like McDonald's, Starbucks and global pizza chains are hardly found even in the most touristy cities. The local food is way healthier than the fast food options and yummy too. Varieties of local pizzas, pastas, gelatos and coffees dominate the food scene, which definitely provides the necessary impetus to the local businesses. Coming on to gelatos, the pistachio gelato is a must try in popular places :) I will write about it in my upcoming blogs on Italy.
Usually, Italian meals consists of an antipasti (starter), followed by il primo (first course of carbohydrates like pasta, rice, etc), then il secondo (second course of proteins like fish and meat) served together with il contorno (side dish like vegetables and salads) and fruit/dessert. Wine is often had with food and is quite common. With the Chianti region next door, does one need any further excuse to try out the mind boggling wine variants! I personally prefer red dessert wines and got back bottles of Brachetto and Camposcagno from Florence for my occasional indulgence.
Well, all that said and done, I am attaching a few food pics from our travels there. Hope you enjoy going through them and head straight to Italy and if not there, then to the nearest Italian joint soon. ;) Oops, forgot to add that after binging on Italian food, I can safely vouch that Bangalore does dish out very authentic Italian dishes sitting in India...Bon appetite!
|Huge lemons to make limonis and limoncellos!|
|Cheese spread with marmalades|
|The bread aisle in the supermarket - awesome varieties out there!|
|Mixed lentils soup, spinach soup and bread pomodoro (tomato) soup|
|Cheese spread with marmalades|
|Barley zuppa (soup)|
|Zuppa verdure (Green veggie soup)|
|Stuffed artichokes topped with blue cheese|
|Complimentary pizza bread with our order...which alone filled our tummies ;)|
|Bianca pizza bread - a cracker like bread popular in Italy|
|Bianca pizzas topped with pesto and lip-smackingly sweet sundried tomatoes|
|A typical thin pizza (like rotis) with thick crusts layered with a tomato sauce. Roma tomatoes and buffalo cheese were added to the baked pizza - no other topping but just tasted super delicious|
|Our typical pasta options on a given day :) Veggies are usually not added to the pastas|
|Local cafes serving freshly brewed cafe lattes, which provided the needed refreshment during our walking interludes|
|Panna cotta desert - was a bit sweet for my taste|
|Chocolate mousse with cake|
|The ubiquitous tiramisu|
|Our very own slice of chocolate cake|