In my book I write about a style of travel that pairs the pleasures of eating with the history and art of a region that result in a unique travel experience way beyond a “show and tell tour”.
Part of that can certainly be found in the food served in almost every ristorante, trattoria, osteria and enoteca in Italy. Over the years many people have asked me what is the best place to eat in Italy. For me the best place to eat in Italy is at the home of your family. The second best place is at the home of your friends and the third best place is at “un ristorante” chosen by your family or friends.
Having said that I’ve added a corollary that is a natural consequence of my experiences eating, shopping and cooking in Italy with my Italian family and friends, one that you may want to try on your next trip – cooking nella tua casa (in your house) as in your vacation house. For our last few trips to Italy we decided to rent either an apartamento or house as an alternative to other more conventional accommodations and cooking in. We enjoy shopping the local markets and alimentari (grocery stores) and using regional ingredients to make at least one of our meals “at home”. Of course if you do this, depending on where you are staying, you should have a conversational understanding of Italian as you will be shopping and buying your ingredients at local town markets where English is not the main language spoken. A vocabulary of food and words and phrases associated with weights, measures, numbers and money are always good to know as in “Un chilo di mele, per favore.” – a kilo (2.2 pounds) of apples, please. “Tre pere, per favore” – three pears, please.
Here are a few helpful links to grocery shopping in Italy. Be sure to bring your favorite recipes from home to cook in (in Italy).