Italy Beyond Pizza and Pasta

Italy is a pizza and pasta mecca. In fact, Italy is a food mecca – it’s one of the most delicious destinations in Europe. Italian food is well-known and popular all over the world. We all can easily recognise an Italian dish.

However delicious Italia is so much more than pizza, pasta, lasagna and Gelato even though all of these are some of our favourite dishes. There are so many more amazing Italian foods that are not in the spotlight.

We thought they deserve to be known and tasted. Some Italian dishes are more adventurous than others but all of them are unique and worth checking out.

Only in Italy: Birramisu

Some of you might not be used to starting off with a dessert but it’s all about to change with Birramisu, because it stands on its own. You don’t need a meal before or after – just grab a drink and a spoon.

This tiramisu made of beer gives it an extra frothy look and taste, and although the combination of sweet chocolate and bitter beer might sound weird at first, this is definitely something to tick off your bucket list in Italy.

Mix the Unmixable: Cheese & Honey

Italian hard cheeses are often served with pears, walnuts, slices of bread and local honey. Be it lunch or dinner, cheese and honey is a successful combination for any Italian – try it at home with a small drop of honey on your Parmezan and you’ll get what they mean.

You can pair a sweet mild honey with a strong cheese or other way round to taste different flavours of this dish. You will never run out of combinations with more than 300 types of honey and 450 kinds of different cheeses in Italy. Use your imagination! True love however is born from balance, and the ability to enhance the mutual characteristics without overshadowing those of the other. So, here is our suggestion to start off. Try out Brezzo Italian Acacia honey with yoghurt, fresh goat or cow’s milk ricotta. And if you’d like it to be more contrasting, go with blue cheeses.

Roman-Style Braised Oxtails

This Italian comfort food might not be on your mind when you power Netflix on a cold winter night. However, this is worth a try. An oxtail is a humble cut but it will most likely be the sweetest, most tender meat you will ever eat. I traditional Roman style oxtail is stewed in tomato sauce for hours, making it so tender that it falls from the bone by itself.

There are many places in Italy where you can try a traditionally cooked Roman style oxtail. However, if you are in Rome, the Osteria da Fortunata restaurant is known for its braised oxtail dish. Buon appetito!

Christmas Capitone Fritto

It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without capitone fritto, or fried eel, which is one of the most popular choices in Italy and not something Aussies often find on their Christmas tables. Let’s shake up the festive season!

Eel has two names in the Italian language. Anguilla is the eel when it is small. When it becomes the rather large fish, often over two feet long, it is called capitone. Be sure to double check that when browsing menus in Italian restaurants.

Lean Gurnard

An ancient traditional gurnard dish is often made with the fish and vegetables. However, spaghetti con la gallinella is another great dish with this fish. Gurnard is often used in a soup. It’s an all-round fish indeed. Gurnards are a lean, firm, white-fleshed, prehistoric looking fish. Don’t be fooled by the looks – it’s a very taste fish fill of great health benefits too.

Veg Paradise: White Bean & Kale soup

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or have any other dietary restrictions, you might be wondering if it’s possible to really enjoy Italian food beyond pizza and pasta.

Of course the traditional Italian bread focaccia comes to mind first. However, your trip doesn’t have to be on water and bread. There are so many delicious vegetarian options in Italy. For example white bean and kale soup is a light but filling Italian dish that you absolutely have to try when traveling here, even if you enjoy meat. This traditionally Tuscan dish comes in different variations with more or less vegetables in it.

Tofu and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Although this article is about Italian food beyond pizza and pasta, this vegetarian dish uses pasta shells but very differently from the traditional pasta we all know.

These are jumbo size pasta shells stuffed with delicious tofu and spinach. Some restaurants add eggplant and pesto to their stuffed shell dishes. Bellissimo!

Canederli, the Italian Knödel

Canederli are bread dumplings only found in the north-east of Italy, where they are served as a first course or as a main entree. There are variations of this dish everywhere in Europe. However the true canederli can only be tasted in Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli, and part of Veneto, Italy.

The word canederli in fact derives from the German and Austrian knödel meaning dumplings. This explains the title of this section.

Italian dumplings are typically made with bread, potatoes or semolina and poached in broth or salted water. You can sometimes find them served in the broth, or as a side dish for a roast or stew. Who doesn’t like a good multifunctional Italian dish!

If you’d like more information regarding Food Tours, please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 1800 242 353.