Eat-alia: Eating in Italy

By Al

I love to eat. It isn’t just necessary for my survival, it’s something I take great pleasure from. On that note, here are 3 Italian dishes I highly recommend for the foodies out there:

1. FRITTO MISTO – one of my favourite dishes and one I immediately seek out when at a restaurant in Italy. My girlfriend – slightly more close minded than me, perhaps – calls it fried “sea garbage”. Surprisingly this name doesn’t do the dish justice. Prawns, squid, calamari, fish deep fried in a rich batter, each bite is nothing less than orgasmic. The multitude of flavours and textures dance on the pallette. Served with a side of fried veg, and a glass of white wine, and you won’t be disappointed. Unless you’re allergic to seafood, in which case you might be left disappointed and in hospital.

2. PIZZA – home of the pizza (although the Greeks may disagree) you’ll have difficulty  finding a restaurant in Italy that doesn’t serve pizza. Experiment and try something new. My favourite is sausage and onion!

Sadly, however, I have also witnessed what I consider a crime against cuisine: pizza with chips. This should never have been invented, and most definitely should stay off the menu of any self respecting establishment. If you find a restaurant serving it, get up, and leave. You are better than that. 

3. FIORI DI ZUCCA (Pumpkin Flowers) 

For some reason these don’t seem to exist in British supermarkets. To this day Aldi have ignored my pleading requests for them to stock this beautiful vegetable.   

3 years ago my grandma cooked these for me for the first time. Deep fried in oil, I picked one flower up and observed it in my fingers. It was light and flakey, leaving a fine coating of oil on my fingertips. I took a tentative bite. As I bit into the batter, an explosion of flavours soaked my tongue. Before I knew it, I’d eaten 5, 6, 7 of these. To say they are ‘moorish’ is an understatement. A smoker craves nicotine. A drug user their next score. I crave my next battered pumpkin flower. 

JUST. ONE. MORE. 

SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS 

For you vegetarians and vegans, I’m sorry to say but you will struggle in Italy. BB Matt (now vegetarian) was a vegan when he came to Italy with me. After one meal he had no choice but to convert to vegetarianism for the duration of the trip. The alternative was starvation. Or cooking for himself. When staying in a hostel with no cooking facilities the former is your only option. 

Do you know what a vegan pizza is? Tomato on bread. And that bread is probably made with milk, the waitress just lied to you to appease you. Italy loves its cheese, milk and meat, and unfortunately doesn’t care if this upsets those with specific dietary requirements! 

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