Home / Travel / How to eat your way through Italy

How to eat your way through Italy

I have them tallied in my notebook like an old shopping list: nine plates of spaghetti alle vongole, seven golden pools of risotto Milanese, 22 servings of tagliatelle al ragu.

In the end, only a handful of those meals made it into the pages — not because they weren’t worthy, but because the book isn’t designed to tell you where to eat your every last meal in Italy.

Instead, we set out to tell deeper stories about the social, cultural and political realities that drive Italian food culture.
An Italian classic: pizza

An Italian classic: pizza

Courtesy Alfred Chiarappa

Of course, to find those types of stories means eating hundreds of meals, looking for the right people and places to tease out the nuances of Italian food culture (a tough job, I know, but I manage).

I spent six months eating my way through Italy, from the truffle-studded hills of the Piedmont to the crystalline coastlines of Sardinia and Sicily.

There were dozens of amazing meals, and almost no bad ones. Throughout my journey, I was regularly reminded that Italy’s best food is usually found in the middle of nowhere.

Ravioli and foam at S'apposentu in Sardinia

Ravioli and foam at S’apposentu in Sardinia

Courtesy Michael Magers

I approached near-religious dining experiences again and again: My favorite cheese shop and favorite bakery in all of Italy, Caseificio Dicecca in Puglia; Roberto Petza’s S’apposentu in Sardinia — so much more than a restaurant; and Trattoria La Madia, a rural restaurant in Lombardia, where the food and service are way better than they need to be,

Roberto Petza of Sardinia's S'apposentu cleans sea fennel.

Roberto Petza of Sardinia’s S’apposentu cleans sea fennel.

Courtesy Michael Magers

Bourdain hated the idea of innovation in the Italian kitchen. He knew it was unreasonable, but as he writes in the foreword to “Pasta, Pane, Vino,” “I am a curmudgeon when it comes to all things Italian… One should experience [Italian food] like a child, never like a critic, never analytically.”

But the more I ate around the country, the more I saw a cuisine in a moment of great transformation — not radical, genre-breaking changes, but a gentle evolution casting the cuisine of nonna in an exciting new light.

Matt Goulding is co-founder of Roads & Kingdoms, an online travel publication of which Anthony Bourdain was the first and only investor.

News credit : Cnn