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March 01, 2022

10 Foods You Won't Find in Italy

AdobeStock_358163145Do you long to taste the delicious fresh farm to table foods, sink your teeth into a glorious piece of authentic pizza? Or roll your fork into a beautiful plate of authentic Italian spaghetti and meatballs? Because what do we immediately think of when we hear Italy?
Food, right?!
While I know you will fall in love with many, many authentic Italian foods, I need to let you know that unless you visit a very touristy restaurant (never by my recommendations!) you will not taste some of what you may think are usual "Italian" dishes in Italy. In fact, my Italian friends almost cry at the thought of some of the Italian-American dishes. Something you should know right up front...Italians take their food very seriously and it saddens them to see what others may do to their great, great, great grandmother's recipes.
Warning:  I hope it's almost meal time because you will surely be hungry before reaching the end of this.

Garlic Bread
Bread in Italy is usually plain and served with olive oil & spices instead of butter.
Vip Travel Tip: Bruschetta (brusketta) is about the closest relative to garlic bread since its drizzled with garlic and olive oil before baking.


Pepperoni Pizza - Pizza in Italy is completely different (in a wonderful way) than it is in the USA. It has a very thin crust and may be topped with a variety of toppings like fresh tomatoes, broccoli and mozzarella, prosciutto, anchovies, mushrooms, but NOT pepperoni.
VIP Travel Tip: Taste the pizza in each city in Italy, they each have their own charms. Sshh, don't repeat that in Naples. 

Italian Dressing - Salads are sometimes topped with olive oil, vinegar, balsamic, salt, maybe pepper, but if you request Italian dressing in Italy, you may be stared at like a martian. In restaurants, your salad is served to you plain and you are expected to add the oil and vinegar on table.

Fettuccini Alfredo - Fettuccini al burro is slightly similar, but much lighter than the heavy cream sauce Americans serve. Pasta is topped with butter and cheese (no cream) for a lighter dish that's healthy, not harmful.
VIP Travel Tip: I always suggest what's called "Close the Menu" and ask the chef to share their specialities, I promise it will not disappoint.AdobeStock_211634348

Marinara Sauce - Most dishes in Italy are not covered in red sauce. In some cases, fresh marinara sauce may be used, but mostly your dish is prepared with shellfish and or olives. 

Spaghetti & Meatballs - We realize this may come as a bit of a shock, but I assure you it is true. Though I know what you're thinking - what could be more Italian than spaghetti and meatballs? Well NEWSFLASH...Italians do eat meatballs, but they are never served over pasta. They're a different course altogether and are enjoyed on their own. (This was hilarious to me the first time I registered for a cooking class and I was asked to choose the menu.)

Chicken Parmesan Only eggplant gets the parmigiana treatment and not veal, chicken or meatballs. HA HA, jokes on me - this was another discovery at a cooking class.
VIP Travel Tip: Highly suggest taking a cooking class when in Italy - to be honest it's a MUST!AdobeStock_96356757

Chicken Pasta - No, another myth. Please don't give your chef a heart attack. Chicken does not belong on pasta. These are simply two very different dishes in the Italian world. You may find small pieces of fish on pasta but that's about it.

Cheesecake - Another shocker!! Italians believe a decadent dessert like cheesecake is a bit much for every day eating. Italians will serve something lighter like cannolis, fruit tarts or fresh fruit that is in season.

You see, when Italian immigrants arrived in other lands in the 19th and 20th centuries, they did as they did in Italy...used local ingredients. This absolutely changed the way they cooked and created a whole new cuisine. While the new cuisine is simply wonderful, you will not find it in Italy. While you can enjoy your Italian favorites at home, but prepare your taste buds for a beautiful, authentic luxury Italian experience you will not soon forget. i.e. Fried Zucchini Flowers -- trust us your mouth will be watering for more!!

AdobeStock_55628675Don't be disheartened by not being able to find these food when in Italy! Even though it may be different than what you are expecting think of it as a time to try new dishes that you may not LOVE in USA, (trust us it's something about the FRESH produce). I have always loved dishes in Italy that I had always thought I wouldn't have liked. I can promise you, the foods you taste will be MUCH better than you are expecting!!!

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Posted In: concierge services, travel ideas, travel tips, foodie travel, Europe, #viptravelexperience, Italy, bucket list travel, planning the perfect vacation, travel concierge

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