Discover all the taste of Italy
La Dolce Vita, or living well savouring in tranquillity all the best life has to offer, is a state of mind. Precisely, an Italian one!
As many know, Italian food is regional and everyone is fiercely loyal to their birthplace.
Historically, Roman trattorias are places where all the people, local and foreigners, meet to savour Italian specialties: when a Roman talks of amatriciana his voice will grow thick with emotion, and it will be very clear his deep love is reserved for dishes from his hometown.
On Sunday morning, in the more densely populated suburbs of Rome, the tantalising aromas of lovingly cooked food drift from balcony to balcony and in the streets.
In Milan, the stylish commercial capital, people are picky: you can find many restaurants that can exceed all your expectations. Food here is contemporary yet timeless, and fashionable without being faddy. Italy is made of traditions, and endless fresh seasonal flavours.
The humble artichoke, for instance, is one of Italy’s most treasured foods. Italy’s love affair with this sturdy, bulbous weed goes a long way back. The cultivated globe artichoke we know and love today is in fact a pedigree version of the cardoon, that the ancient Romans began cultivating in Naples.
Also, in late August, something takes hold of Italians. It’s not a fever as such, but a lust! They’re hungry for mushrooms, for the Porcini that sprout in the wooded hills of Piedmont, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and Veneto. Porcini can be bought fresh at local markets, and they’re a versatile ingredient.
They’re cooked with a little pancetta in risotto, used in pasta sauces, mixed with chicken or stirred into stracotto, a rich slow-cooked beef and wine stew.
Food in the Italian cinema
And who could have described better La Dolce Vita than Federico Fellini, the most missed Italian film director? He always described an incredible edible world throughout his many movies, but he said he wasn’t a real good cook, and that at home he left the cooking to his wife, the actress Giuletta Masina. His favourite dish? His grandmother’s zuppa inglese (an Italian relative of trifle).
Discover more on Itineraries of Taste.