When you think of countries to visit on a “food vacation”, Italy clearly has to be towards the top of your list. If you don’t easily give into hype, maybe these five reasons why Italy is a food lover’s dream will convince you to give it a shot. If nothing else, prepare your mouth to start watering.
You don’t have to go to a restaurant to enjoy better food in Italy than you do at home. Take the open markets in Florence, for example. Just looking at the fresh fruits and veggies will have you ready to tear up. Vendors are more than happy to make suggestions on preparation, and you may even have some herbs thrown into the bag with whatever you buy, just to make sure you have what you need for the perfect meal. The bakeries will drag you in by the nose. You can’t go wrong with any selection, but tell them what you are cooking, and you’ll walk out with the perfect accompaniment. Then it’s on to the shops for some cheese, meat, and the best olives you’ll ever put in your mouth. By the time you get back to your accommodations, you’ll barely be able to contain yourself long enough to prepare everything.
One word: Gelato. Don’t you dare call it ice cream. One scoop of this delicacy will have you saying, “Ice what?” Specialty shops will have so many flavors your head will spin, so don’t be afraid to get two or three scoops of different kinds. Don’t worry, you can come back tomorrow to try something new or revisit a favorite.
Italy actually offers food tours if you want to get into that sort of thing. Instead of having to research the best place to go, a local aficionado will bring you to all the best stops. You’ll meet the best local chefs, taste their finest creations, and learn a little about cooking in the process. Why just eat the best food in the world when you can learn the secrets to making it at the same time?
Italy doesn’t just specialize in great food, but also in great wine. One of the best ways to enhance the flavor of a meal is to eat it with the proper beverage. Let Italy help you get the most out of what would already be a great meal.
Finally, and perhaps most dear to my heart, Italy is conscious of food allergies. If you suffer from a gluten allergy, like myself, it’s nice to know you can ask for a gluten free meal without someone looking at you like you have two heads. It’s no different there than asking to hold the onions.
If you love food, Italy can provide the vacation of a lifetime.