Looking for a reason to go on vacation? There’s no better excuse to visit Italy than to taste the country’s delectable cuisine. You’ll never regret going on a food and wine tour in Italy. There are hundreds of dishes to discover and bottles of wine to share.
Top destinations for a satisfying food and wine tour in Italy and their must-try dishes
Why go on a food and wine tour when you can explore the country like a regular tourist? It’s simple: you can’t truly enjoy Italian food if you don’t dedicate your time to understanding the country’s culinary culture. Everyone agrees that Italian cuisine is the best in the world, so why not discover its full potential? Here are some of Italy’s most popular destinations for an unforgettable gastronomic experience:
Nothing feels better than going on a revitalizing trip to the Italian countryside. Tuscany is a beautiful region in the middle of the peninsula, boasting a vast green landscape with views of the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas.
Thanks to its mild climate and fertile soil, Tuscany is a predominantly agricultural economy. This is reflected in its food, which emphasizes the freshness of ingredients over everything else:
Want to experience all the classic Italian flavors in a single bite? There’s only one dish you should try: Panzanella. Built on simplicity and freshness, this salad features a combination of bread, tomatoes, onion, and basil, topped with a generous dollop of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s the perfect starter for any meal.
- Bistecca alla Fiorentina
Who could forget the Bistecca alla Fiorentina? This hearty T-bone steak, made from local Chianina cattle, is topped sparingly with rosemary and sage, bringing out the meat’s natural flavor.
Take note that Bistecca alla Fiorentina is traditionally served rare. If your stomach is not up to the challenge, be ready to get shocked looks from your server when ordering it another way.
Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? A slice of castagnaccio is all you need. Baked with chestnut flour, olive oil, walnuts, and raisins, this gluten-free cake has hints of nuttiness hidden in every bite. Some recipes even call for a dash of rosemary to add a little savor.
If you head further up the Italian peninsula during your food and wine tour in Italy, you’ll find Veneto, a charming region with a unique geography. It is divided into three areas: the plains, the mountains, and the coast. These divisions greatly dictate how food in one part of the region differs from another:
- The plains
Venetians in the plains have an abundance of fresh ingredients and livestock to choose from. It’s common for locals to serve grilled meat, usually in the form of a barbecue with beef, pork, and chicken.
But if you’re looking for something more “Italian,” don’t hesitate to try the sopressa Vicentina. This salami is made with lean pork meat and fat, mixed with salt, pepper, and a variety of spices for a flavorful bite. Sopressa Vicentina works excellently with another Venetian classic, the polenta.
- The mountains
Fresh crops can be a bit challenging to find in the mountains, but the same cannot be said for livestock and mushrooms. In fact, asiago is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that changes flavors depending on its age. Freshly pressed asiago is sweet and pleasant, while stravecchio, aged for over 15 months, is a little spicier and more intense.
- The coast
Naturally, the coastal areas rely more on seafood than crops. Locals near the Venetian Lagoon wait all winter for the spring to come, hoping for a very rare soft-shell crab to show up: the moeche.
This uncommon marine delicacy tastes best when fried, popular among locals and tourists for its soft, savory texture.
Veneto is more than just the home of Venice, the city of romance. In fact, did you know that this northern region is Italy’s largest wine producer? Veneto makes up 18% of the country’s total DOC wine production, and it would be a shame if you didn’t have a glass or two of the famous Amarone della Valpolicella. Other popular wines include the Corvina, Molinara, and Garganega.
Is your Instagram account in need of an update? What better way to wow your followers than with scenic photos of the sunset along the beach? Sicily is the perfect island getaway for solo travelers and couples going on a food and wine tour in Italy.
Once you step into the island, let go of all your expectations about Italian food. Sicily is not like any other mainland region. Its culture and cuisine have influences from all over the world, including the Greeks, Arabs, Spanish, Normans, and North Africans. Not to mention, the Mediterranean provides an abundance of fresh seafood for the locals.
Here are just a few dishes born out of Sicily’s heavy global exposure:
- Pasta con le sarde
Pasta con le sarde is unapologetically Sicilian, built upon the island’s marine economy and rich history. This pasta dish is inspired by the Romans, Moors, and Spanish, made with spaghetti, sardines, fennel, pine nuts, and sultanas.
Born out of Sicily’s Arab roots, this fun and filling snack is not one to miss. Known as “little oranges” in English, arancini are fried risotto balls stuffed with hearty ingredients like ragu, peas, ham, and cheese. It’s a great way to stock up on fuel for your next adventure!
Cannoli is a little different from other Sicilian treats. This is because the dessert has Italian influences, originating from the island itself and making its way to other parts of the world.
And who wouldn’t enjoy a bite of this sweet pastry? Traditional Sicilian cannoli are filled with sheep’s milk ricotta, giving it a tangy yet delightful taste.
Have you found the perfect place for your food and wine tour in Italy? You can discuss your options with a certified travel operator. All you need to worry about is packing your bags. The service provider will take care of the rest.