A taste of Italy; 5 fantastic regional food specialties

Thursday 28, April 2011


A taste of Italy; 5 fantastic regional food specialties


Italy is a land celebrated for its culinary greatness. Its cuisine has long since travelled beyond Italian borders and nowadays can be found all around the world, from Iceland to India.


However, there is far more to great Italian eating than just pizza, pasta and panini! Our Italian friends at give us the lowdown on Italy’s best local specialities, and where to find them. 


Rome, Carciofi alla giudia

Carciofi alla giudía, literally "Jewish style artichokes", is a dish of deep fried artichoke, which has a delicious nutty crunchiness. The special Romanesco artichoke variety, harvested between February and April in the coastal region between Ladispoli and Civitavecchia, (just north of Rome) is especially suited for this dish. To sample this tasty meal, head to the Jewish restaurants of the Roman Ghetto; here you’ll also be able to enjoy the hospitality in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts in Rome.


Piedmont  - La Bagnacauda, Piemontest

Bagnacauda is a warm dip, eaten in a similar way to fondue but with raw or roasted vegetables rather than bread or meat.  Made with anchovies, olive oil and butter, it’s a food of humble origins, and was traditionally eaten during the autumn and winter months, whist the new season’s wine was tasted. 


Today Bagnacauda has achieved the status of ‘regional specialty’ and can be found all over the Piedmont region, served as a main meal, or a side dish in inpidual pots traditionally made of terra cotta.


Sardinia - Seadas

The Seadas, also known as Sebadas, are special fritters made with a pecorino cheese filling typical of Sardinia. Today, they are considered one of the most famous Sardinian traditional desserts, but, originally, they were eaten as a main course, especially by the shepherds at Easter and Christmas. 


The key ingredients of this tasty dish are semolina flour, pecorino cheese, pork fat or butter, sugar or honey. Most restaurants on Sardinia serve this dish so don’t leave the island without sampling it!


Naples - Baba

This small cake, saturated in rum has become a well-known party dessert. Although it’s associated with Neapolitan cuisine, its origins are somewhat un-Italian; the creation of Baba is attributed to Stanislas, an exiled king from Poland. Apparently, he spilt a bottle of rum over his daily ‘Kugelhopf’, a type of very dry cake, but loved the result so much, he demanded it always be served that way. The ‘Baba’ au Rhum’ was thus born and later brought to Naples by French cooks where it became a local specialty. 


Sciliy -  Pasta con le sarde Palermitana

A traditional Sicilian specialty, Pasta con le Sarde is a seasonal recipe, most commonly eaten from March to September when its main ingredients are widely available. Herrings, wild fennel, anchovy fillets, onions, pine nuts, powdered saffron and small raisins are the main ingredients.


There are many versions of Pasta con le Sarde, but the ‘Trappitara’ style – the recipe from Trappeto, a satellite town of Palermo – is most renowned. Arabs probably introduced the original recipe in Sicily during their colonization, but following colonizers added their own twists on the dish, with the use of wild fennel due to the Greeks and Romans.



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