Italy Food Tour
a gourmet journey from north to south
Are you interested in an “Italy Food Tour?” First, choose the region that best suits your tastes and interests. Italy is a very small but incredibly diverse country from north to south, with an incredible choice of regions and cities to visit. Italy offers sea, beaches, hills, mountains and historical small villages. It is not easy to choose when you have so many options. If you need advice, please read this guide that will help you get a more complete idea of what you can expect from Italy and what not to miss.
See what I can organize for you in Venice:
A passion for Food and Wine is a great way to learn about Italian history and culture. It is impossible to list all the typical Italian dishes and wine labels that you can pair with our culinary tradition. Remember that North and South, due to climate and geographical characteristics, are very different from each other, and in each city, there are different ways of cooking and a different variety of fresh ingredients. A lifetime is not enough to get a complete idea of what the Italian culinary tradition is all about. To help you choose your next vacation in Italy, a brief guide to the major Italian regions and the types of different products you can find follows. Clearly, the time of year affects the ingredients and types of dishes you can taste.
VENETO REGION – NORTH ITALY
This Northern Italian region is known for its Adriatic Sea beaches, Lake Garda, and historic cities such as Verona ( the city of Romeo and Juliet). Venice is the capital and is considered a must-visit at least once in a lifetime. Veneto is known for a culinary tradition based on fish from the Adriatic Sea ( small, flat fish with such tasty meat that it needs neither seasoning nor long cooking). The fish is so tasty that it is cooked simply with some oil and white wine. It is often served with polenta, which is a typical preparation of this region. In this region, the most typical dish is usually “risotto“ which can be made with fish, meat, or simply with vegetables. Veneto is also famous for “pasta e fagioli”, a very tasty soup that represents the home cooking tradition, and for “potato gnocchi”. The best-known wine is “Prosecco”, which is produced in the hills of Valdobbiadene, not far from Treviso. It is a sparkling wine, considered easy to match and easy to drink. Also well known is “Valpolicella”, a medium-bodied red wine, from the Verona area. Perfect for pairing with meat, for example, Bolognese sauce. The most famous dessert is “tiramisu'”, Venetian fugassa, and cornmeal cookies.
PIEMONTE REGION – NORTH ITALY
The capital is Turin, the city where the Italian royal family once lived. It is a very elegant and chic city that offers many cultural opportunities, especially related to contemporary art. The culinary tradition of Piedmont is linked to recipes based on red meat and full-bodied wine. The dishes are very elaborate and require long cooking times. Meat is also used for filling ravioli, the most famous of which are called agnolotti. Piedmont is also known for its ice cream and chocolate, especially those made with hazelnuts. The desserts are very rich and elaborate. It is worth visiting the famous historic cafes and pastry shops in the center of Turin. If you love red wine, this is the region of Italy for you. Typical wines are “Barbera”, “Barolo”, “Barbaresco”, “Dolcetto d’Alba”, “Roero”, and “Timorasso”. If you love white wine, you should definitely try the sparkling wines of the “Asti” area. If you are planning a vacation to Italy, surely Piedmont is a perfect region to organize an “Italy Food Tour.” The red meat recipes combined with the wide selection of full-bodied red wine will make your Italian vacation unforgettable.
LIGURIA REGION- NORT ITALY
Small region facing the sea almost entirely covered by hills and mountains. The best-known geographical area of this region is the “Cinque Terre”, a favorite tourist destination for Americans. Famous for the cultivation of basil, which is used to make pesto. “Pesto” is a sauce used to season pasta, gnocchi, and also pizza. Famous are the classic “focaccia” and those made with chickpea flour – ” farinata di ceci” . The most widely used fish in the kitchen are the famous anchovies. Also well-known are the “taggiasche” olives used to produce olive oil. The best-known desserts are “canestrelli” cookies, “baci di Alessio”, “Pandolce”. The most famous wines are “Vermentino” and “Pigato“.
EMILIA ROMAGNA REGION- CENTRAL ITALY
This region is considered a food lover’s paradise. It is characterized by a vast flat land ” Pianura Padana” that is damp and gray in winter and terribly hot in summer. Although the climate is not pleasant, this is an ideal place to grow local produce. The capital is Bologna, known for the oldest university in Europe. Bologna is the Italian city with the highest quality of life. The production of cheese, meat, and fresh pasta is unrivaled in the world. The food industry is known worldwide for the highest quality products. Homemade pasta is the pride of this region. In every bakery, you can buy fresh pasta, and only fresh pasta is served in restaurants. You absolutely must try “tortellini in brodo” or any kind of filled pasta. Meat and hams are the main ingredients to give order to the most popular dishes. It was in the city of Bologna that bolognese sauce, made with meat and tomato sauce, was invented. If you like Italian cheese, do not miss the opportunity to buy yourself a big chunck of Parmigiano. You will be amazed by so much goodness. The typical wine of this region is “Lambrusco“, a very light sparkling red wine that serves to cleanse the palate and taste the next goodness.
TOSCANA REGION- CENTRAL ITALY
The most famous cities in this region are Florence, the capital, and Pisa known for its leaning tower. It is a holiday destination for those who love the countryside and hills. Famous are the villages of San Miniato, Volterra, San Giminiano and Montalcino. Do not miss a visit to Siena, a small medieval town. If you love the sea, however, you must visit the Isola of Elba and Forte dei Marmi. According to local traditions, the cuisine is very simple, not very elaborate dishes made with few ingredients. It is the only city in Italy where unleavened bread is eaten, baked without the addition of salt. It is used to make “panzanella,” a fresh salad variegated with onions and cucumber with the addition of large slices of stale bread soaked in white wine. You will find a wide selection of soups made with legumes and seasonal vegetables such as “cavolo nero” typical of this region. Well-known red meat such as “bistecca alla fiorentina” a large slice of meat cooked on the grill. Easy to find wild boar meat and sausages, unobtainable in the rest of Italy. The best-known desserts are the almond-based “cantucci” cookies and “panforte,” a cake made with almonds, candied fruit, and spices. If you love red wine, Tuscany is for you. The best-known wines are: “Chianti”, “Brunello di Montalcino”, “Sangiovese”, “Sassicaia”, “Vernaccia di San Giminiano”. Why choose an “Italy Food Tour” in Tuscany? Because the Tuscan countryside and its medieval villages are enchanting places that will remain in your heart all your life. Meat recipes are unobtainable in the rest of Italy and you can taste the local cuisine that is still very respectful of ancient traditions.
LAZIO REGION- CENTRAL ITALY
Rome is the capital and a must-see for all world travelers. Less well known is the rest of the region, which is almost completely covered by hills and has no tourist cities known abroad. For those who love food, they will find plenty of choices in Rome. Absolutely try the “cacio e pepe” pasta made with very thick spaghetti served with a sauce made of pecorino, Parmigiano, and pepper. Very tasty in its simplicity. Also famous is the pasta “Amatriciana“, made with guanciale, tomato, pecorino, and chili pepper. In Rome, the way of making gnocchi is very different. Instead of using potatoes, they use semolina flour, milk, butter, and Parmesan cheese mixed together. Romans have always been good at turning simple ingredients into spectacular dishes. The cuisine is incredibly elaborate in flavor, but not complex in preparation. One example is “Abbacchio” lamb cooked with white wine, sage, and rosemary and served with potatoes. When you eat it, you don’t understand how it is possible that it is so good, and if you try to cook it yourself at home it’s not so easy to do it so well. Another example is artichokes “alla giudia” which are found only in Rome. Artichokes are simply cooked in boiling oil but they are so good that you tend to think they required a lot of elaboration in cooking. Roman cuisine is based on homemade cooking secrets that turn any ingredient into an unforgettable dish.
how to make “cacio e pepe” recipe.
To get a better idea of what the “cacio e pepe” recipe is, I would recommend you watch this video showing its preparation again. It is not difficult to make it at home, you just need to learn the correct method from an experienced Italian cook.
SICILIA REGION- SOUTHERN ITALY
Sicily is an island in southern Italy known for its beaches and blue sea, baroque churches, very hot summers, and mild climate even in winter. It is still little considered a tourist destination and this has preserved it from mass tourism. It is simply a fabulous place to visit, very inexpensive, and with a great choice of cultural initiatives. Unfortunately, the stigma that Sicily is still under Mafia power continues to be alive. In fact, the days when the Mafia killed people in the streets and put bombs to kill magistrates are just bad memories of 30 years ago. Sicilian cuisine is characterized by incredibly elaborate dishes that require long preparations and many local ingredients. Because the climate is very favorable for agriculture, Sicily is home to the best Italian produce, from vegetables to fruit. One example: tomatoes, oranges, and lemons. The variety of fish found in the market is simply incredible. Best moment of the year for a “Food Tour Italy” ? From September to May. In summertime can be really too hot.
“ITALY FOOD TOUR”, WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOU IN VENICE
If you have read this entire page, you should have a better idea of all the wonderful regions you can visit in Italy. If you are still unsure, consider visiting me in Venice. I can arrange a food tour for you in my city, Venice. Contact me and let’s talk it over.
SOMETHING ABOUT ME
My name is Gioia Tiozzo. I am a psychologist specializing in nutrition and an Italian food & wine lover. I have been busy studying the tight connection between food and well-being. I’m a professional cooking instructor and help people on a diet to cook to stay healthy. I have a passion for food since I was a child. Everything I can cook, I learned from my grandmother. I was born and bred in Venice and I cannot imagine my life far from the sea.
If you still have limited knowledge of Italian food, you may have been curious about what recipes and ingredients are used to cook our iconic recipes. I’m happy to provide any kind of information you need so that you can enjoy your “Food Tour Italy”.
My Food&Wine experiences are based in Venice