The wise traveller in Italy will dine in a number of different locales
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.
A pizza in Naples.