The other day I was in my kitchen flipping the reeds of my Toscana diffuser, and the bold notes of tomato leaf and green fig instantly transported me back to Umbria, a region in central Italy where my family and I spent a month this summer. Toscana's culinary-forward notes are a delightful reminder of the special time spent preparing and savoring long and joyful meals with my family while being surrounded by the Italian countryside.
Since I hadn’t been to Italy for over 20 years, finding all my favorite foods was a top priority! From shopping for food to discovering what quickly became our favorite trattoria, I was determined to enjoy deliciousness all trip long in a country known for its culinary delights. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Italian eats and treats from breakfast to dinner. Buon appetito!
1. La Colazione ("Breakfast")My first stop the morning after we arrived was getting a cappuccino and cornetto. While I couldn’t wait to taste the delicious cappuccino with the creamy steamed milk and marmalade-filled cornetto (the Italian version of a croissant), I was just as excited to witness the Italians'’ “la colazione” custom they do so well. Rushing to work, they take maybe 5 minutes to chit-chat with their neighbor while standing up at the neighborhood bar, slurping down an espresso and scarfing down a cornetto before rushing out the door to work. Italians never sit when having their morning espresso, so take note if you don’t want to stand out as a tourist in Italy.
2. SalamiFinding a salumeria was second on my list after finding a fave spot for cappucini. I’m a big fan of any Italian-cured salami, but Corallina, from Umbria, is one of my faves. Reading the handwritten descriptions of the different varieties was almost as joy-filled as eating the salami itself!
4. Crostini Misti
On days when we hung out at the villa and enjoyed the pool and amazing view, I’d often whip up a plate of crostini using leftover grilled veggies, tomatoes, a spicy pepperonata and more salami, of course! And always olives too!
5. Pizza Alla Diavola
Pizza was #1 on my hubby’s “foods to eat in Italy” list, and we found an awesome pizzeria in Perugia that made for the perfect end to our days exploring, what we all agreed, was our favorite city of the trip. Ry loved the pizza alla diavola – which means the “devil's pizza” because of the spicy salami and hot peppers! And, while I've tried many different pizzas, my fave is still a classic margherita topped with fresh rucola and finished with a drizzle of olio piccante (spicy olive oil).
6. Fiori Di Zucca Fritti
7. Our Daily Dose of Gelato & Granita
There we have it, seven of my favorite Italian delights that made our family trip to Umbria both tasty and memorable. Comment below with one (or more!) you’d like to try!
P.S. I’d be remiss not to mention my honorable mention food, this blue-veined block of gorgonzola cheese! I know not everyone loves a good stinky cheese, but this beauty was delightful spread on grilled bread, crumbed over salads and pasta or - my personal fave – eating bite-sized chunks with a tomato! I had to give it some love on the blog!