The Best Things I Ate In Italy Last Week

Fettuccine al funghi
Italy is delicious. (I’m not the first to notice.)

Since it’s harvest time in Italy, markets are brimming with vegetables, sweet fruits, pulses, grains, and greens. I spent the last ten days eating my way up and down the country, from Sicilia to Veneto to Apulia. As a pescatarian, I ate a lot of fish and cheese, pasta and vegetables. I think I ate eggplant every day. I know I sometimes ate it twice a day. This was not a hardship. This slideshow is my proof.

The essential truth about Italian food is that there is no Italian food. All cooking is local, sometimes so local you cannot find a dish beyond the clang of a town’s bell tower.

But if there is one element that unites the country’s cuisine, it’s ripeness. Sauces derive their pungency and flavor from mature tomatoes, not pulpy pink orbs bred for boxes and trucks. Grapes and figs, strawberries and peaches, eggplants and squashes are picked when they are softly yielding, redolent and perfumy. Cheeses become opulent and perfect in due time: hours for Mozzarella di Bufala, months for Caciocavallo, many years for grana. Meats cure slowly, olives and capers more quickly, but none of it can be rushed. 

The cook, an alchemist, merely selects the best of the best, then magically transforms it into something even better. Grazie a tutti.

 

My travel was sponsored by GranVia Società e Comunicazione.

Tags from the story
, , , ,
More from Meg Houston Maker

Don’t Call Them Lesser

Exploring vital grapes with big personalities—if tiny footprints
Read More

6 Comments

  • Killer photography. Seriously mouth-watering stuff. The enjoyment you experienced with all those great dishes comes shining through. Thanks, I think, for sharing this bounty with us.

  • First, I just gained MORE weight from reliving our gastronomical experience through your photos. Second, sitting next to you watching you take photos with your iPhone I am stunned by the quality of these photos. What is your secret? My iPhone photos don’t look near this crisp. Well done. Now I think I will head back to the gym for a second time today…..

    • It was fun traveling (and eating!) with you last week, Michelle.

      As for the photo quality, maybe the studio art training helps. Otherwise: Find great light and fix it in post.

  • Meg, it was a pleasure to meet you at WBC but feels almost decadent reading you post and paging through your luscious photographs. You make me want to make risotto again. Well done, my friend. Cheers! -JvB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *