1) Pizza Margherita:
The most famous pizza today, the Margherita was invented in Naples in 1889 for the Queen of Italy who was visiting Naples with her husband Umberto I. The story goes she saw the peasants eating this strange food on the streets and she wanted to try it! Her servants sought out the most famous Pizza maker or pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito, who created a pizza with the finest regional ingredients: sauce made from the San Marzano tomatoes grown on the slopes of Vesuvius, mozzarella di buffala from nearby Caserta and Basil leaves. He was also no doubt trying to impress by using the three colours of the new ‘Italian’ flag. Remember to visit her grave in the Pantheon and pay homage to the Queen!!
Tiramisu, literally meaning “Lift me up” in Italiano, is a delicious mixture of Coffee, Cocoa Powder, Mascarpone, Savoiardi biscuits known as lady’s fingers, and traditionally Rum. It
comes from Treviso and was laden with alcohol and for that reason it could quite literally lift you up after a meal. You can find it all over Italy today and Italians believe it to be the perfect after dinner indulgence and some say it is an aphrodisiac! If Coffee isn’t your favourite flavour, like myself, opt for a chocolate one… You won’t regret it.
The first thing to get straight is that gelato is not the same as ice-cream. What is the difference Both gelato and Ice cream contain dairy, sugar, possibly eggs, but that is where the similarity ends. When it comes to buying it from a Gelateria where they specialise in making Artiginale gelato. Look out for it on the sign! If you want the full Italian experience you should say yes to panna on top – a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Cream on top of ice-cream?! When in Rome everyone! My favourite flavors are Pistacchio, Caramelized Figs and Ricotta, and Nutella, too list a few of the hundreds of varieties you can find in Italy!
4) Pasta Carbonara
Carbonara is a relatively new dish for Roman cuisine. There are many theories as to where this dish originated, some say it is not Roman at all. The most accepted story is that it was invented in Rome for a meeting between the American and British forces in 1944 and was created using two ingredients both nations loved – bacon and eggs.
Traditionally it is made with guanciale (pork cheek), pecorino cheese and raw egg yolk. The fat from the pork cheek, strong cheese and rich egg yolk give a glossy rich sauce on Bucatini or Rigatoni pasta. The carbonara most of us recognise from outside of Italy uses cream instead of egg, this probably originates from our unease at using raw egg, exacerbated by salmonella in more recent times.
Suppli are delightful appetizers, usually served best at Pizzeria’s, and can be found under the Fritti, or fried, section of the menu. These scrumptious treats originate from the Capital and are basically deep fried rice balls filled with Ragu (you might know it as Bolognese sauce) and Mozzarella di Buffala, or Buffalo Mozzarella. Although they are from Rome Suppli won the nation’s hearts, or should I say bellies, and can now be found everywhere!
6) Lasagna Al Forno
Lasanga today is an international favourite for good reason, it’s jolly tasty! If we take a look at its roots then technically Lasagna was invented by the Greeks, originally called Langnon, but perfected by the Romans after they overthrew the Greeks in 146BC. We are still eating it today due to the rich tomato-ey mozzarella flavor and its delicious creaminess. An interesting factor to consider is that the Ancient lasagna wouldn’t have been tomatoey until the 18th Century when Marco Polo brought Tomatoes to Europe. It certainly cannot be missed when in Italy, especially if you are in the region of Emilio Romana – a region of Italy renowned for the best of the best!
7) Saltimbocca alla romana
I have saved the best till last! This is another mouth-watering Roman tradition with a quirky name, like Tiramisu, which literally translates to “Jump in the mouth”, because this combination of ingredients quite literally bursts with flavor. Traditional Saltimbocca alla romana consists of slices of veal cooked with slices of Prosciutto and sage served best in a Trattoria or an Osteria: little family run establishments! Being one of my all-time favorites I deem Its essential that if you are travelling to the region of Lazio that you select this dish