We’re starting a guest post series focused on food and family-friendly travel around the world. Our first guest post comes from Catie Costa, author of Love on the Rocks: A Positano Tale, a story of two best friends, Kit & Bridget, who flee their humdrum lives in the States to spend an adventurous summer in Positano, Italy. Her book is the perfect read for a plane ride or when camping, and I can’t wait to finish it on our next trip abroad. You can buy it on Amazon. Enjoy!
Of course she was hungry. She was in Italy, wasn’t she? – from “Love on the Rocks: A Positano Tale”
Italy. Food. Italian food in Italy. Yes.
The country that produced the Colosseum, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Valentino, can also claim to have given the world some pretty darn good things to eat. It just can’t be disputed. Well, I guess it can, but I won’t listen to any arguments. Therefore, if you are traveling to Italy, prepare to surrender yourself (and any sort of possible diet) to the food, and more importantly, to enjoy yourself in the process of eating. Here’s a short Italy food guide to the famous, and not so famous items to try.
Pizza, Gelato, Nutella-Oh My!
Italy has typically been stereotyped as a country synonymous with pizza, gelato, and Nutella, and with good reason. The first thin crust pizza margherita was made in Naples to honor the visit of Prince Umberto and Queen Margherita of Italy. Little did the creator, Raffaele Esposito, know how popular his masterpiece would become, and how it would (literally) expand around the globe (think American thick crust versions).
Although it’s rooted in Sicily, in the 1920-30s, the first gelato cart was developed in the northern Italian city of Varese. And then there’s Nutella– a category in and unto itself. The popular chocolate hazelnut spread by Ferraro can be found in candies, pastries, and various gelato flavors. But there’s so much more to Italian cuisine than these well-known favorites. Arancini (fried and stuffed rice balls), traditional Roman amatriciana, Venetian black squid ink pasta, hearty Tuscan panzanella and ribolita.… and don’t forget about the fresh fruit and produce being sold in the local piazzas. There’s much to choose from, and even the the pickiest non-foodie will be spoiled with the endless culinary choices. So, by all means, enjoy that pizza, gelato, and Nutella (spread on just about anything), but remember to give the local dishes a chance.
Snacks? Yes, I Think So.
Is there ever a wrong time to snack while on vacation (and in Italy, no less)? I think not. First of all, your stomach will most likely still be in a different time zone for half your trip, causing you to feel hungry all the time. And second, you are in Italy. Don’t fight it.
If you are trudging up Via San Marco in Positano (in the 90 degree+ heat) and you feel it necessary, in fact, imperative, that you stop for a thirst-quenching rossini and some salty pistachios to help you make it up the rest of the hill or stairs, then do what you gotta do. Some of my finest travel memories in Italy involve my friends and me snacking away in various places and the laughs we had. So, repeat after me: snacking = necessary time to rest, recharge, and get ready for another round.
Food is good and exceptionally good food is even better. Keep this in mind as you travel in Italy or for that matter, anywhere.
P.S. If you’re in Positano or any other hill town – make use of the stairs as an “easy” workout. You’ll thank me later.
Thank you for sharing Catie! Read more about Catie’s travel experiences, and her latest book on her website.