The wise trav­eller in Italy will dine in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent lo­cales

The Western Star - - TRAVEL - BY ARTHUR FROMMER

Ac­cord­ing to food expert El­iz­a­beth Min­chilli, the average Amer­i­can tourist to Italy makes a car­di­nal er­ror in or­der­ing meals at Ital­ian restau­rants.

Min­chilli is best known for books and ar­ti­cles on the meal­time spe­cial­ties in Rome, and she has now writ­ten and pub­lished a de­fin­i­tive guide to the dishes fea­tured through­out the rest of that food-happy coun­try.

Called “Eat­ing My Way Through Italy,” it will hence­forth be an im­por­tant item to pack in your lug­gage when you un­der­take a trip to that land of pasta and olive oil.

Ac­tu­ally, the use of olive oil in Italy is a prime ex­am­ple of Min­chilli’s in­sis­tence that Ital­ian cui­sine dif­fers from place to place in that coun­try.

Un­like Amer­ica and the rest of Western Eu­rope, where olive oil is a uni­form bot­tle of a uni­form-tast­ing sauce, nearly a dozen big cities in Italy fea­ture their own va­ri­ety of that sub­stance, as dif­fer­ent from one an­other as could be imag­ined.

And don’t even con­sider ask­ing for an im­me­di­ate shal­low dish of olive oil, into which one dips bread at the be­gin­ning of a meal. That use of olive oil is done by un­tu­tored types, and would never be tol­er­ated by a true gourmet. Ev­ery Ital­ian olive oil is dif­fer­ent, she claims, and ev­ery dish is ac­com­pa­nied by a sprin­kling of dif­fer­ent-tast­ing olive oil in Italy. And as for pizza, don’t even con­sider or­der­ing it any­where ex­cept Naples.

My ref­er­ences to olive oil and pizza don’t re­ally do jus­tice to the so­phis­ti­ca­tion of Ms. Min­chilli’s book. In it, you will learn of heav­enly dishes of which you were to­tally un­aware, which will be found only in spe­cific cities or re­gions of Italy. Read­ing “Eat­ing My Way Through Italy,” which is now avail­able in most book­stores, will en­hance your Ital­ian trip to no end, mak­ing food and meals a div­i­dend to be en­joyed on ev­ery day of your trip. Arthur Frommer is the pi­o­neer­ing founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book se­ries. He co-hosts the ra­dio pro­gram, The Travel Show, with his travel cor­re­spon­dent daugh­ter Pauline Frommer. Find more des­ti­na­tions on­line and read Arthur Frommer’s blog at from­mers.com.

ALEXAN­DER VAN LOON/FLICKR

A pizza in Naples.

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