Everyone should try authentic pizza or pasta at least once while in Italy. However, don’t forget to also sample some of those lesser-known local dishes during your time away!
Wherever you are travelling to within Italy, there are food and drink experiences that cater for all tastes and dietary requirements. Although, wherever you decide to spend your holiday, there are local delights to discover around every corner.
7 Things to Eat in Italy that isn’t Pizza or Pasta
Below we take a look at some suggestions for things to eat in Italy that aren’t pizza or pasta. Including regional favourites through to national dishes that are sometimes forgotten about.
The origins of this dish come from servants of wealthy families within Italy’s culinary past. Who would take leftover bread and vegetables, adding herbs and spices to recreate a hearty soup for dinner.
However, these days Ribollita is much more than leftovers, often featuring as a proud speciality on menus across Tuscany.
Tuscany is also known for its love of seafood, where you can purchase freshly caught fish along the beautiful coastline.
In particular, served as the main ingredient for Cacciucco (Tuscan seafood stew) a popular family-favourite, which can also be found in most restaurants throughout the region.
As a popular meal in the Lombardy region of Italy, Osso buco alla Milanese is a traditional alternative to pizza or pasta. The rich flavours of veal shanks are braised with vegetables, cooked in Italian white wine.
If you are in Milan, remember to specifically order Ossobuco alla Milanese, as this will be the most authentic taste of the dish.
Focaccia di recco
Just like Italy’s love of pizza or pasta, the best foodie experience can often come in the simplest of forms. However, that’s not taking anything away from this delicious treat. In essence, Focaccia di recco is layers of focaccia bread filled with Crescenza cheese, but it delivers so much more.
This is best tasted straight out the oven, or while on a street food tour in Genoa, from where Focaccia di recco originates.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
If you’re a foodie and an absolute carnivore, then Bistecca alla Fiorentina is certainly a choice for you. We’re confident that some of the meat on offer in Florence, will more than rival any equivalent back home. After all, this is far from your standard T-Bone steak.
The meat for Bistecca comes from veal or heifer and is specifically cooked over charcoal. This isn’t one for a light lunch either, as portion sizes tend to be on the rather large side.
When you think of food in Italy that isn’t pizza or pasta, you’d be forgiven if the sweet taste of nougat wasn’t top of your list. However, it is believed to have originated from southern Europe and with Torrone in particular, thanks to the Italians.
Although as to where in particular, some reports say Lombardy while elsewhere the recipe first appeared in the region of Sicily.
Lastly, for those with a love of desserts, we couldn’t not mention Italy’s passion for ice cream. After all, Gelato is as much part of Italian culture as wine, pizza or pasta.
Although if you wish to join a street food tour that explores the origins of this frozen delight, then plan a visit to Florence. Where you will find some of the oldest and most prolific Gelato manufactures in Italy.
Food and Drink Experiences in Italy
We have a wide selection of tours, activities and other food and drink experiences in Italy available to book online. Whether it’s a wine tour in Sicily, a cookery class in Tuscany or a vegan street food tour in Rome, there’s something for foodies everywhere.