I admit I’ve been very poor at staying on top of the #DolceVitaBloggers monthly topics (sorry ladies!) but I couldn’t miss this one… Favourite Italian Food and Wine
I mean where do I even start with this? Italian Food and Wine is some of the best in the world. Recipes use simple, seasonal ingredients to create dish after dish of mouth-watering, heart warming dishes. Try as you might you’ll never quite recreate the same taste anywhere else in the world, because no one else can conjure the sights, sounds and smells of an Italian Piazza at Aperitivo hour, or a restaurant with views out to the glistening sea with the chitter chatter of Italians, or a cosy trattoria with the hustle and bustle of locals coming and going with animated conversation.
I decided the only way to do this is to walk through a menu with you all!
Antipasti / Aperitivo
There is just something I love about this tradition; meeting friends, unwinding after a day’s work (or before an evening’s work) – taking time to just relax and appreciate the small things.
My favourite aperitivo is campari and soda, or if you’re feeling like something a little stronger a negroni. I know the more popular favourite is aperol spritz, which I also love but I have great memories of enjoying campari, soda and a slice of fresh orange with my old friend (and colleague) back when I was a holiday rep, it was our little escapism from the guests, watching the sunset from a little beach bar.
I love how when you order an aperitivo in Italy, it ALWAYS comes with a little something, whether it’s olives, nuts or a little plate of meat and cheese – my favourite in Sardinia is when it also comes with pane carasau. It’s like a warm up for the brilliant food you’re undoubtedly about to enjoy when you head for dinner!
I suppose technically I should focus on pasta here. Traditionally in Italy they have their meals with antipasti, pasta (primi piatti) and then the meat (secondi e contorni). It most certainly is a feast, and you spend hours enjoying the conversation and the wine – this is my perfect kind of evening.
How on earth am I supposed to choose my favourite pasta dish, I love them all! But I guess my favourite is always with seafood, you cannot replicate this taste I swear. A traditional Sardinian favourite is spaghetti vongole e bottarga – Spaghetti with clams and bottarga, which is cured fish roe and utterly delicious!
I could go on for days talking about pasta but just read the rest of my blog for that. I would love to hear what everyone else’s favourite pasta dish is though.
Secondi e contorni
Italians keep this dish relatively simple in my opinion and it makes sense really. It’s usually a good cut of meat or fish, accompanied with roasted or grilled veg, salads, potatoes and any other delicious contorni they can muster.
Recreate their grilled veg at home, drizzle and baste fresh produce in olive oil, add some dried or fresh herbs and put it on a hot griddle pan – aubergine and courgettes are without a doubt my favourites for doing this with. Also if you don’t serve them hot, marinate them in a little white wine vinegar and olive oil and they taste even better cold the next day.
Whilst I love fish, a good tagliata di manzo also doesn’t go amiss here, grilled steak, sliced and served with veg or a simple insalta di rucola e Parmigiano
I’m not a huge dessert lover, but I often can’t pass on a classic tiramisu which perhaps sounds a little cliche but to be honest desserts, pastries and cakes are all done well in Italy. Light and fluffy for a little sweetness after a meal and before un cafe e un digestivo. I do love a cannoli though but these are often more of a daytime treat with a coffee. Mark is partial to a gelato – if you can’t finish a meal with ice cream in Italy where can you?!
Most meals finish with an espresso and a hit of the local liqueur, whether it’s limoncello, mirto or sometimes grappa – brace yourself!! This is another little tradition I love though, it’s a great end to any meal and sends you off full, content and despite the dose of caffeine ready to either finish your night or take a traditional passeggiata and watch the world go by for another hour or so.
I’m always trying to recreate traditional italian dishes at home so if you’d like to keep up to date with my recipes and ideas follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and sign up to my newsletter for all my latest recipes and events.
This blog post is part of #DolceVitaBloggers link up, to read about other’s favourite foods head over to the link to see more from fellow bloggers like The Blossom Twins, Italian at Heart, Mamma Prada, and QuestaDolceVita.