Prodotti Italiani

The best was to experience Italian cuisine is in a home kitchen. If you find yourself behind the stove, make authenticity simple with some local produce.

Fagolini Thin, crisp, and sweet- cook this flavorful string bean cousin in salty boiling water to maintain its beautiful green hue.


Softball sized lemons in the South of Italy are as sour as their Northern counterparts, but are cool to look at and yield a lot more juice.


Take a whiff and you’ll notice something different about the tomatoes in Italy. Often sold fresh on the vine, they have a sweet/tang to match their earthy scent.

MEAL ON THE RUNInexpensive and accessible, supermarkets are fantastic destinations for the impromptu meal. Try a couple of these Italian household staples for a simple meal worth talking about.

Pizza Bianca
Lighter than focaccia, white pizza is sprinkled with salt and dressed with olive oil. You can often find it still warm from the oven and like pizza al taglio, you can select the exact amount you want and pay by weight.

Prosciutto Cotto
Does the shiny coat and gummy texture of the average aged prosciutto turn you off? Try the more accessible prosciutto cotto. Fully cooked with a more Easter Ham like texture, it’s also a big hit with kids.

Muller Bianco

It may just look like yogurt, but this German import is creamy, not too sweet and gets better with every bite. Try the coconut, hazelnut, or pineapple flavors for something with a little more kick.

Mozzarella di Bufala

Made from the milk of the Asian water buffalo, this cheese is richer than the mozzarella you’re used to. The four Euro price tag for an orange-sized ball may feel unsettling, but a single taste of its delicately spun layers will make your worries melt.

Fruits and veggies are forbidden, but you can still pack plenty of other Italian treats to take home. These are my favorite suitcase stowaways.


Chalk it up to terroir, the pasta in Italy does not taste the same as what you’ll get at home. It also has a long shelf life, travels well and you’ll find shapes that even Italians have trouble identifying.

Parmigiano Reggiano

You did not go all the way to Italy to return home and eat that sprinkle cheese from a green can. Parmesan is less expensive in Italy and lasts in your fridge for months. There really is no good excuse to go home without it and every bite will be a savory reminder of your trip.

Knorr Granulated Broth
Ice cube trays of frozen stock may not line your freezer, but this instant broth from Knorr is the next best thing.

Pan di Stelle

You may find the supermarket is fresh out of these crispy chocolate cookies. Crack a cabinet in any Italian kitchen and that’s where you’ll find them. Like the Oreo of Italia, a bag of these would make a nice gift for your office buddies and an even better snack for your flight home.

My next post is all about restaurants in Rome. Click here to get and it will be sent to you via email for free!

Field Notes: Recommendations for Your Next Trip to Italy

Fly to Italy for as little as $350 round trip. AIitalia offers discounts year-round so get in the habit of checking their site and you’ll be sure to find a deal.

Avoid visiting in August when the entire country closes its doors for a month of vacation.

Skip the monolithic line for the Vatican Museums. An extra four Euros will get you an assigned time with no waiting. Click here for museum website.

Spend an hour or two in Amalfi, for bragging rights, then take the twenty-minute bus ride to Ravello. Amalfi’s neighbor in the hills boasts the same beautiful views with fewer tourists, fresher air and plenty of room to walk around.

Get intimate with Italy and visit a less traveled locale like the island of Procida. You’ll find great food and kind people without all the expense and hype of neighboring Capri.

Keep an eye out for apperativo offers. Purchase a single drink and many Italian bars will include a small buffet of pastas, salamis, cheeses, and bread that can easily replace dinner for a fraction of the cost. Ask someone at your hotel or hostel for a recommendation if you can’t find one on your own.

Pizza al Taglio (pizza by the slice) is another tasty-inexpensive -option for lunch or dinner. Unlike slices in the states, you can specify exactly how much you want and pay by weight. After a quick reheat, the pizza is folded and wrapped for a meal on the run that won’t get your hands dirty.

Roadside meals in the states may turn your stomach, but in Italy a highway rest stop is an opportunity to sample regional specialties. AUTOGRILL is a restaurant chain that offers stuffed sandwiches and breakfast pastries that have won praise from top chef Mario Batali.

Drink cheap wine. Supermarkets are busting with two to three Euro wines that are kind to the wallet and palate alike.

If you’re lucky you could also find a local wine producer who will let you fill your own container from a large storage vat-Pinot Nero from a Pepsi bottle anyone?

Italian supermarkets and vegetable stands are also great for sampling the local fare. Come back to travelingtastebuds Thursday for an introduction to Italian products that will top your shopping list.

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Off to Italy

For the next couple of weeks, I won’t be posting because I’ll be in Italy! I will return on the 19th with a list of must-eat spots in Rome, so get ready for everything from macaroons to Italian style Chinese food.

Either you’re going to Italy yourself this summer or you know someone who is, so come back to travelingtastebuds for the culture tips and food recommendations that will push your vacation way beyond average.

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