Food & Drink Magazine

Why Italy is the Culinary Capital of the World?

By Marialiberati

Six of Europe’s Top 15 “foodie cities” as named by Eating Europe, were in Italy. The country is so famous for its fabulous cuisine few could argue that it isn’t the world’s culinary capital – in fact, that’s likely one of the reasons culinary tours of Italy have become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether you join one, head out on your own, or do a little of both, these destinations are where you can find some of the very best eats.

Naples

Naples is legendary as the city that birthed pizza, a dish that was first sold to the working classes by street vendors, but quickly spread after an Italian royal tasted a bite. Margherita pizza is the specialty here, initially created to represent the Italian flag, with the tomato sauce for the red, mozzarella cheese the white and basil for green. You can find it throughout the city, though Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is widely regarded as the world’s very first pizzeria and is still in operation today, making it worth the trip to this city alone for any foodie.

Venice

Located along the Adriatic Sea, Venice may be famous for its picturesque canals, but it’s also one of the best cities in Italy for foodies. Expect to find lots of dishes based around fresh seafood, like baccala mantecato, codfish that’s cooked in olive oil, garlic and parsley before being creamed and served with polenta. For a sweet treat, don’t miss the region’s famous pudding, tiramisu. A beguiling concoction of marsala, mascarpone and ladyfingers, it’s become one of the world’s most popular desserts. I Tre Mercanti, which offers a wide variety of flavors from the classic (coffee) to passionfruit and mango, makes fresh tiramisu while you watch.

Bologna

Known in Italy as “La Grassa” (The Fat One) after its food, it’s no surprise that Bologna is often found among or at the top of the world’s best culinary cities. Many specialties originated here, most famously, baloney sausage and Bolognese sauce. Lots of dishes here make use of the region’s fresh ingredients like parmesan cheese and Parm ham too. You’ll discover practically an endless array of dining options to sample them, from street markets and food stores to casual trattorias and upscale restaurants.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is not only one of Italy’s prettiest towns, set on a hilltop with 14 soaring towers, and lined with Romanesque and Gothic architecture in its historic center, its delicious dishes take advantage of the many Tuscan influences that surround it. The must-try dish here is Coniglio Alla Vernaccia: rabbit in white wine. The famous wine that’s used as an ingredient is the result of the area’s Vernaccia grapes, dry and citrusy to perfectly suit the dish, while the meat is so tender that it literally falls off the bone.


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