A vacation in Italy is so much more than sightseeing, it’s a complete immersion into the Italian way of life. And one thing Italians are very passionate about is their food. Italian families share their lives in the kitchen and recipes are passed down from generation to generation.
In my recent immersion trip I was very fortunate to visit several areas of the country where I learned so much from our drivers, guides, and hoteliers. So I wanted to share a few interesting things about Italian cuisine…
Up in NORTHERN Italy they use lots of butter for their dishes (no olive oil). Also, in the northern half, rice dishes are very popular instead of pasta. I had the most amazing saffron risotto dishes while staying on Lake Como.
From the MIDDLE of the country and south, they only use olive oil (you will never find a stick of butter in their refrigerators!).
I realized the importance of olive oil in Italy when I met an OLIVE OIL SOMMELIER (who knew this was a thing!). Below are some of the things I learned from this super knowledgeable sommelier.
Olives need to sit for 48 hours after harvest before they are pressed.
Always buy cold pressed olive oil. Some producers heat the olives for more production but that affects the flavor.
Olives from different regions have different flavors to compliment the foods of the region. For example, olives from the Lake Como area have a lighter flavor to compliment the fish dishes popular in those regions. Olives from central Italy have a stronger, earthy flavor to compliment the meat dishes (very little fish is eaten in central Italy) – fascinating!
In central Italy they are very passionate about their SALUMI (fine Italian cold cuts). Umbria, the most authentic Italian countryside, is best known for its butchers and this region is Italy’s largest producer of black truffles so truffle dishes are their specialty. Umbria is authentic, warm and earthy. Visiting this region is a true immersion into the Italian way of life.
I hope this gives you some insight into the types of experiences you can have during a trip to Italy. We incorporate activities that not only allow you to see the main sites but also offer you immersive experiences to learn about the culture and passions of each country you visit. If you’re passionate about food there truly is no better place to visit than Italy.
I would be honored to help plan your next adventure. Email me to schedule your complimentary consultation.