Foodie Adventures & Highlights: Italy

Italian food: aka my all-time favorite cuisine. If I could only eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, it would be Italian.  Luckily for me, having traveled to Italy three times, I have been able to capitalize on my love of pasta (and pizza as well). Whether it be in Northern Italy or Southern Italy, I was happily satisfied with my Italian food options 🙂

 

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Seafood pasta (Florence, 2013)
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Wild mushroom fettucine in a white wine sauce (Rome, 2013)
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Gnocchi bolognese (Monterosso al mare, 2014)
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Penne al pomodoro from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Venice, 2011)
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Spaghetti bolognese (Rome, 2013)
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Seafood pasta (Venice, 2013)
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Spaghetti bolognese (Venice, 2013)
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Spaghetti carbonara (Rome, 2011)
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Penne with shrimp (Rome, 2013)
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Spaghetti carbonara (Florence, 2013)
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Spaghetti al pomodoro from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Florence, 2011)
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Gnocchi in a creamy white wine sauce from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Venice, 2011)
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Spaghetti carbonara (Venice, 2011)
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Penne bolognese from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Florence, 2011)
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Pesto rotini (Capri, 2013)
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Rotini (Italy, 2013)
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Lasagna (Venice, 2013)
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Rotini (Italy, 2013)
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Pesto linguine (Italy, 2013)
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Ravioli bolognese (Florence, 2013)
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Mushroom risotto (Castellammare di Stabia, 2013)

So, where to begin? I suppose the obvious choice would be pasta. What’s fun with pasta, is that there are so many different types that exist and you can pretty much put any toppings that you like. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I like pasta so much, because I can just look through my fridge and choose a few ingredients, boil some pasta, mix everything together and voilà! I have a meal.

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Pizza margherita (Pompeii, 2013)

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Pizza margherita (Sorrento, 2013)
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Pizza with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and arugula (Sirmione, 2013)
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Pizza with mushrooms (Sirmione, 2013)
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Pizza margherita (Florence, 2013)
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Pizza from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Florence, 2011)

A second obvious choice is pizza. Pizza is one of those things that I find is very hard to mess up and even if you do, it still tastes ok. I love all pizzas: thin crust pizzas, deep dish pizzas, $2 slices of pizza at 2 a.m. and frozen pizzas.

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Antipasti from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Rome, 2011)
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Bruschetta from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Rome, 2011)
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Caprese salad from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Venice, 2011)
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Caprese salad (Sorrento, 2013)
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Eggplant parmigiana (Rome, 2013)
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Caprese salad (Italy, 2013)
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Mixed grilled vegetables (Florence, 2013)

But, Italian food isn’t just summed up by pizza and pasta; there is much more to it. For starters (literally), there is antipasti, which is basically charcuteries (cold cuts), cheese, olives and other bites. Also within the starters category are salads. My favorite Italian salad is a real Caprese salad: fresh slices of tomatoes, sliced mozzarella di buffalo, fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil and salt n pepper.

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Gelato shop (Italy, 2013)
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Gelato shop (Venice, 2013)
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Gelato shop (Florence, 2013)
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Gelato shop (Italy, 2013)

Italy is also the best place to get gelato and eat it every day with no shame. Literally every touristy city has a gelato shop at every street corner. I prefer the lemon or berry gelatos, which can be refreshing on a hot summer day.

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Tiramisu (Rome, 2013)
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Tiramisu (Italy, 2013)
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Tiramisu (Florence, 2013)

Italy is also renown for tiramisu, a coffee flavored dessert (its like a soft fluffly coffee tasting cake) and one of my favorites.

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Italian style chicken from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Rome, 2011)
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Grilled fish, fried calamari and fried shrimps (Rome, 2013)
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Veal parmigiana with oven baked fries (Castellammare di Stabia, 2013)
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Giant lobster! (Venice, 2013)
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Fresh fish and seafood stand (Venice, 2013)
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Fresh fish and seafood stand (Venice, 2013)
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Pork cutlet, garden salad and oven baked fries (Italy, 2013)
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Italian style chicken from the Topdeck campsite chefs (Venice, 2011)

Many Italian dishes also revolve around meat, which I had the opportunity to eat when I didn’t get to choose what I was going to eat (the pleasures of organized tours). However, some dishes were very good, even though it wasn’t pasta 😛 So, there are definitely more dishes in Italian cuisine, but because I have an addiction to pizza and pasta, well, I don’t have anything to say about those other dishes that I didn’t consume. I can, however, highlight some of the best dishes I had, which I can still remember.

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Best seafood risotto (Rome, 2013)

The first one (in chronological order) is a seafood risotto I ate in Rome in 2013. I had only ever eaten mushroom risottos before, so it was nice to see that it could be prepared in another way. The sauce had just the right balance between tomato and parmesan, was very creamy and smooth. The seafood went very well with the dish and was cooked to perfection. I just wish there had been more risotto on my plate!

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Amazing seafood pasta (Riomaggiore, 2014)

The second meal was a seafood pasta dish I ate in Cinque Terre, more specifically in Riomaggiore, in 2014. It was so good I ate it two nights in a row. The dish was served in aluminum foil as it had spent some time in the oven (not certain why and at which point) and everything was on point. The spaghetti, the buttery and oily sauce and the delicious fresh seafood.

UP NEXT: probably a Montreal restaurant review

*All photos are my own (or taken by someone with my device)

3 thoughts on “Foodie Adventures & Highlights: Italy

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