Italy: Food Tips for Travelers

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Visiting a brand-new country can be daunting. There are customs and unspoken rules you must be aware of, and constantly reminding yourself of these facts will only make your trip more stressful. But luckily, experienced tour providers can help lift a heavy weight off your shoulders. Italy food tour packages allow you to enjoy your vacation to its fullest without worrying about language barriers or ordering the wrong thing off the menu.

Important things to remember on your Italy food tour

  • Get to know Italian food terms

You don’t have to have intermediate-level knowledge of Italian to enjoy the local cuisine. In fact, you only need to familiarize yourself with five terms that commonly appear on Italian menus: antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni, dolci, and caffè.

And no, ‘antipasti’ does not refer to a pasta hater. Instead, it translates to ‘appetizer,’ which could be anything from bruschetta to a meat-and-cheese platter. Meanwhile, ‘primi’ and ‘secondi’ refer to the first and second courses, which often come in the form of pasta, soup, meat, or fish.

If a server asks about your ‘contorni,’ they are talking about side dishes. Popular side dishes in Italy include salads or grilled vegetables. ‘Dolci’ refers to desserts—gelato is a must-try—and ‘caffè’ or espresso often comes with the dessert.

  • Live like a local

Every country you visit will have customs that are encouraged or frowned upon, especially when it comes to food. Italians, in particular, are very proud of their cuisine—and you should treat the local food with respect.

For instance, make sure to eat pizza with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your food. Using a fork and knife will only attract unwanted attention.

And if you’re used to ordering cappuccinos in the middle of the day, it’s time to get rid of this habit. If you are really craving a cup of coffee, espresso is always the way to go.

You’ll also notice that some popular Italian menu options back home are not available in Italy itself. For example, spaghetti Bolognese is technically not an authentic Italian dish. If you miss the taste of your favorite red sauce, make sure to order a tagliatelle al ragu instead.

Another helpful tip to remember is not to touch any produce at the market. Instead, you should only point at the items you want and let the vendor handle them for you.

Some other “don’ts” in Italy include asking for food-to-go at restaurants, dipping your bread in oil and vinegar, or requesting more parmesan on your pasta. But despite all this, don’t let these unfamiliar rules discourage you from enjoying your trip. Italy has so much to offer in terms of food and wine, and your number one priority should be to have fun!

  • Check everything thing off your bucket list.

Have you ever wanted to know the difference between pizza from Rome and pizza from the restaurant next door? Well, now’s your chance! Don’t hesitate to try everything you’ve ever wanted to try once you step foot in Italy, no matter how “basic” a dish may be.

If you want to make the most of your trip, don’t forget to do a little research on a specific region’s most loved dishes. When visiting Sicily, for instance, make sure you enjoy the local selection of fresh seafood. Meanwhile, if your Italy food tour includes Naples, savor a steaming hot pan of Neapolitan pizza.

  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.

There’s no limit to the number of adventures you’ll experience in Italy. The country is home to towering mountains, long hikes, seaside caves, and even the snowy Italian Alps.

But if you’re looking for an adventure that doesn’t get your heart racing too fast, try tasting some of Italy’s most unique dishes. Like most countries, Italy has some tasty delicacies that will make you feel doubtful at first, but once you have a bite, you won’t be able to stop.

One popular example is Tuscany’s Sanguinaccio dolce or pork blood cake. It is prepared with pork blood, milk, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, butter, eggs, and diced bacon. Different regions have different versions of this Tuscan specialty, but these are the main ingredients.

What if you suddenly craved sushi? Japan is all the way on the other side of the world, but luckily, Italy has its own spin on raw seafood. In Puglia, you’ll find the Apulian raw octopus, and its method of preparation is more surprising than the taste itself. If you find yourself on the southern Italian coastline, you’ll notice fishermen slamming freshly caught octopus on the rocks. This allows the creature’s tentacles to relax and soften, making them easier to chew.

  • Go all out on Italian wine.

Food isn’t the only thing Italy has to offer. The country is also known for its wine, and every region has a different take on this popular drink. In fact, Italians love wine so much that they have a glass or two with every meal.

The top five wine regions in Italy include Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily, and Veneto. Make sure you not only indulge in the local dishes when visiting these areas but also finish a bottle of their famous wines.

Tuscany, for example, is home to the world-famous Sangiovese grapes, which produce tannic and acidic wines. Chianti wine is made with 80% Sangiovese, while Brunello di Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese grape.

For people who prefer sweeter wines, Sicily is the perfect destination. This Mediterranean Island is best known for the Marsala, which doubles as a drink and a cooking ingredient.

Do you think you’re ready for an enriching and fulfilling Italy food tour? Plan your trip with a certified tour provider now! This way, you can enjoy everything the country has to offer, whether you want to visit the wine estates of Tuscany or pick your own white truffles in Piedmont. Not to mention, luxury package tours come with a local professional guide to help bridge the language barrier between you and the locals!