The ultimate foodie’s guide to Italy

Wizz Air has created a new guide to travel around Italy based on the local delicacies you can find in each region.

Something that draws people to Italy year after year is undoubtedly the food and drink – Italian cuisine is one of the world’s most popular styles of cooking. However, you can find different regional delicacies wherever you go – so where would you find, for example, some of the country’s best seafood?

Tamara Vallois, Head of Communications, at Wizz Air comments:

“We loved putting together this guide to Italian food (although it made us quite hungry)! We wanted to cover a range of different dishes and ingredients so that anyone reading it would find something to enjoy, celebrating the wide variety of classic recipes that originated in this gorgeous country. There’s a naturally vegan dessert in our guide too, which you can make at home for a taste of Italy! 

“One dish we would love to try is ‘focaccia alla genovese’ – the light, thin flatbread eaten in Genoa and the surrounding area. With a little dusting of sea salt on the top, you can mix sweet and savoury together by giving it a quick dip in your morning cappuccino, as people do in Genoa!”

Beginning in the North West of the country in the Liguria region, Genoa is the home of pesto alla genovese – the Italian name for the fragrant basil sauce beloved around the world. Traditionally made in a pestle and mortar, this method of preparation gives pesto its silky and smooth texture, and brings out the depth of its flavours. 

Emilia-Romagna’s most famous export is Aceto Balsamico di Modena – a regional balsamic vinegar that is noticeably sweeter than other kinds, with a low acidity. It’s a key ingredient in a traditional Italian dessert known as ‘fragole all’aceto balsamico’, in which strawberries are left to sit under a coating of sugar which draws moisture out of the fruit to create a syrup. Then, the berries are drizzled with balsamic vinegar which intensifies the flavour. 

In the Lazio region, the capital city of Rome is thought by many to be the birthplace of carbonara pasta – which interestingly does not traditionally contain cream although the sauce is very creamy. The texture actually comes from the combination of eggs, Pecorino cheese and the pasta water, which is infused with the starch from the cooking pasta. 

Apulia, also known as Puglia, is where 40% of the country’s olive oil comes from, as the rich soil is perfect for cultivating olive trees. It’s home to the port city of Bari, where raw seafood, fresh from the ocean, is very popular. Served with fresh bread and a squeeze of lemon, your dish of  ‘frutti di mare crudi’ might include sweet and buttery sea urchin, oysters, mussels or cuttlefish. 

The city of Naples is in the Campania region and is where one of the most iconic Italian dishes originated – the Neapolitan pizza. The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana is a committee which regulates the classification of pizza as Neapolitan. To be a true Neapolitan pizza, the dough should be made entirely by hand without the use of a rolling pin, and must be only 3mm thick at most. 

One of Sicily’s most famous local foods is cannoli. Bite through a crispy shell of fried pastry to reach a creamy filling made using mild ricotta cheese. In Catania, cannoli often contains a local addition – the filling will have pistachios added, giving it a delicate flavour and a pretty green colour. 

So if you’re planning a holiday and Italy is on the cards, why not factor in the local cuisine in helping you make your decision? Whether you are drawn to the Italian Riviera on the Ligurian coast and its pretty fishing villages, or the whitewashed hill towns of Apulia, there will be something delicious to try wherever you go. 

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