Italian food at the farmer's market in Bologna

Food & Wineof Italy

As a traveler to Italy you get the honor of trying to fill your mouth with as many culinary delights as possible. Each region has it’s own products, ingredients, specialties, and styles of cooking that go well beyond what we casually think of as Italian food. It is important to think about this as you plan your trip so you can get out to the country to harvest grapes, or learn how to make tortellini. Just sitting down to a home-cooked family meal will give you an enormous understanding of the people, culture and lifestyles of Italy.

Food in Italy is so much more than pizza, pasta and Parmesan cheese. Scroll down to get a mouthwatering preview of some truly Italian dishes that you may not have heard of before. 

13 Italian foods you need to add to your bucket list

Who doesn’t love Italian cuisine? With Italian food one often thinks of tomatoes, but the tomato wasn’t used for cooking in Italy until the late 1500’s. They’ve had thousands of years of culinary tradition before the classic red sauce was ever even invented.

Italian cuisine embraces simplicity, with a spotlight on high quality and seasonal ingredients. There are as many regional variations as you have taste buds.

We have compiled a selection of amazing Italian foods that are fairly unknown outside of Italy.

Agnolotti: A stuffed pasta resembling a pillow, typical of the Piemonte region and in particular the city of Monferrato. Typically they are served in a beef broth.

Granita Siciliana with Brioche (pictured): Sicily is the birthplace of the granita, and they take it up another notch. A very refreshing scraped ice dessert, great for beating the summer heat. There is an entire ritual to experience while eating it, and the brioche is not optional.

Calzoncelli: A crescent shaped dessert made with a sweet paste of almonds, garbanzo beans or chestnuts typical of Basilicata.

Pucce: A flat bread cooked in an extra hot wood fired oven so that it puffs up. From the oven you stuff with all sorts of roasted veggies, cheeses, and meats to make one of the most amazing sandwiches you’ve ever tried.

Pancotto: A traditional bread soup based on the tradition of “cucina povera.” A humble peasant dish using stale bread, broth, and tomatoes.

Panzanella: Another use for stale bread, this Tuscan salad is popular in the summer. Chunks of roasted stale bread, tomatoes, onions, basil, olive oil and vinegar come together to make something much greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Mozzarella di bufala, burrata e stracciatella (pictured): Yes, you’ve had mozzarella, but these cheeses represent different stages in the making process. Burrata has a rich, buttery flavor, and must be eaten quickly. Stracciatella are thin strands of mozzarella soaked in fresh cream to create an oozy texture.

Frise (pictured at the top): A very unique type of bread typical of Puglia, baked twice to conserve for up to 2-3 months. It is so hard you cannot eat it without the proper technique. You must quickly soak it in water, then crush a tomato into the top. Add a dash of olive oil, salt, and some basil and you’re in heaven.

Panzerotti: A deep fried calzone. Let me repeat that, a deep fried calzone with mozzarella and tomatoes. These handheld pockets of bliss will have you asking for seconds or thirds.

Trofie (pictured): A twisted pasta from Liguria designed to be eaten with pesto sauce. Traditionally served with green beans and potatoes.

Pizzarieddi (pictured): A homemade pasta typical of Puglia made from fresh seasonal wheat, which is hand rolled on a thin metal rod. Often made and served with orecchiette and a classic red sauce.

Pasticciotto: A to-die-for soft crust pastry from Lecce typically served at breakfast filled with custard cream.

Culurgiones de casu: These little parcels of joy are a Sardinian stuffed pasta. The ingredients range from area to area but these “little bundles” can be stuffed with pecorino, beets, nutmeg and saffron.

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