Food Tour Of Three Italian Cities With Different Food Cultures

Italy food tour

*This post is contributed by Ellie Jo for Blissful Snapshots. Photos from Pixabay

Italian cuisine is the choice of the Gods, or some might say. They kind of have a point. Italian food has so many different variations on the same fish because the culture of north and south is so different yet the people are similar. 

Let’s be honest, stereotypically, whenever you think of Italian food, you think pizza, pasta, meatball, cheese, wine, and olives. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that because those are the main food export items the markets wants to buy. But if you want proper food, dishes that have heritage, love, passion and even stubbornness, you’ve got to go to the country. Only when you get it straight from the horse’s mouth can you truly experience the wonder and heavenly sauces, the herbs, spice, sourness, richness and tear-jerkingly sublime history of the cuisine of Italy. 

But where, where to go, what to eat? So many options, and all of them valid and equally good for different reasons. It depends on you, what do you like? Well, the people, make the city or town, which in turn reflects the taste and style of the food. Food tours are best enjoyed when traveling with friends because you have different takes on flavors, dishes and you can discuss what the chef was trying to create with a particular ingredient. 

Here are three different food cultures, in three different cities. 
  

Florence, Tuscany style  

Culture

Tuscany is a region in Italy that began to flourish when the Romans came to be. They need the land of Tuscany to grow grain and feed the cattle because the rural hills are bountiful, and the soil is very rich in nutrients. Some of the best wines come from this region because that is what they were originally known for. Florence is in Northern Italy, but westward also; so it gets the heat from the Mediterranean and the cool wind from France to blend together and have the perfect weather to grow balanced sweet and dry wines. 

Essenziale

The food at the restaurant is practical, rustic and hearty. Because the land is mainly used for farming, a unique blend of hearty and distinct flavors emerged. The dish that sums up the region, the people and the ethos is the Tagliatelle Coniglio. Wild rabbit, seared then simmered in white wine, with celery, carrot, onion, chamomile, and pollen. The gaminess of the rabbit is immediately infused with the sweetness of the white wine which breaks down fibers, then the old farmer’s habit of creating a stew kicks in. Yet the farmers are have moved on from being working class, and in a thoroughly middle-class, the last few seconds of cooking, the dish is infused with aromatic flowery zing. 

Italy food tour

Venice, taste the Mediterranean

Culture

Without a doubt, the most glamorous city in Italy, nothing comes close to the miraculous maze of the floating city. It’s located in northern Italy, on the eastern side of the Veneto region. Veneto is closer to Eastern Europe and so a little cooler but quite balanced because the land doesn’t have many hills or woodland. 

A Venice food experience is just unlike any other because you can get a gondola boat ride to almost any part of the city and taste almost every local fishermen's unique catch in the morning. You will go from food stalls on the street, to family-owned restaurants, to wine cafes, each boasting to have captured Venice in a single sip or bite of their fish, pastry, bread, pasta and wine selections.  

The people may be affluent, but surprisingly, they abhor any kind of snobbish behavior. Less is more, don’t taint purity is the ethos behind the Venetian food style. Because the city is blessed with the Adriatic Sea, the seafood is the best in Italy, and some say the world.

Venissa Osteria

The food at the restaurant plays with delicate flavors, and although it doesn’t try to be too fancy, the menu shows an aim to not overpower guests with fishiness. Bigoli is a 'can’t go wrong' kind of dish. Strips of thin, chewy cylindrical pasta, served with fried anchovies with a mild onion and mixed herb sauce. 

Originally a dish that peasant fisherman used to cook for themselves at lunchtime after ferrying the aristocratic class around the maze, it’s now a classic in the city. The anchovies are fried and then mashed into a paste, so they melt into the sauce, creating a moderate fish taste that’s balanced out by the herbs and pasta. 

Italy food tour

Milan, fine dining

Culture 

It’s not Rome, and it’s not trying to be. In fact, the metropolis of Milan wouldn’t want you even to try and compare it with the capital city, because the people certainly don’t feel jealous. Situated in Northern Italy, it sits in the Lombardy region as the financial hub of the entire country. 

The national stock exchange is at the heart of the city, where financial services, office buildings, CEOs of large corporations and rich foreign company sits with a cool and calm attitude. The people of Milan dine on the high-rise rooftops and proclaim their city to be the real home of Italian fine dining. 

The people are cultured in arts and entertainment, and this love of exuberance with an undertone of classiness is just how they love their food.  

Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia

A two-star Michelin restaurant that unlike the attitude of Rome, Milan doesn’t want to bend to the whim of the tourist palate, or the cosmopolitan over-complicated nature. Traditional and yet contemporary, a fine balance of rare flavors and simple familiarities. The menu isn’t so outlandish you don’t know which ingredient is the star of the show. 

Try their dish solely dedicated to the Milanese taste of tortellini pasta, filled with Osso Bucco which is cross-cut shanks of the Piedmontese cattle only bred in North-west Italy. The shanks and the smooth, fatty marrow are pureed and filled into the tortellini pasta, whereupon Sardinian saffron is dropped into the mix to play with shavings of Parmigiano cheese. 

The rich and powerful in the world of business want only the finest cuts of meat, and to have their sinuses massaged with the strong aroma of saffron, while at the same time not forgetting who they are because they’re not trying to be influenced by the many cultures of Europe. They’re Italian, so all this heavenly mouthwatering combination must still share the plate with what else, but pasta and cheese.  



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