Monday, August 8, 2011

My 10 Favorite Italian Foods

It's Monday Listicles time again and this week, Stasha over at The Good Life wants to know about 10 foods. Foods we like, foods we don't like, foods that make us happy . . . or not. Anything about food is fair game.

I thought I'd write about 10 Italian foods/drinks that come to mind.
Some are specifically foods from Puglia, the region of southern Italy I live in, others not.
Some I like, others NOT.

1. Espresso coffee

Like, like, very big like! I do not like any other coffee in the world, only Italian espresso.

2. Fioroni

Love, love, love! I love these so much I even wrote an article about them, called Fioroni, Fruit of the Gods.

3. Orecchiette con Cime di Rape

This ear-shaped pasta served with rabe broccoli is divine. This dish is a love for me, but I can't eat it because of the gluten in the pasta . . .

4. Gelato

Italian ice-cream is so scrumptious. I'm not sure how it differs from regular old ice-cream, but it differs, it differs! I had been unable to eat gelato since finding out I am lactose-intolerant, but just last week I discovered a gelateria (ice-cream shop) that sells a wide selection of flavors that are both gluten and lactose-free. Halleluiah!

5. Focaccia

Kinda like a pizza, but with a thicker dough and no mozzarella on top. Heavenly, but a no-no for me because of the gluten.

6. Martini Bianco

My favorite brand of vermouth. I strongly associate it with hanging out at the cafè with friends and enjoying an aperitvo (see number 7).

7. Aperitivo

An aperitivo is a before-lunch snack you order at a cafè. Ideally it's a few peanuts, olives and potato chips to nibble on with a soda or an alcoholic drink, as you prefer. However, at many cafès the aperitivo has become so elaborate, including tartines, mini-sandwiches and more, that you forget all about lunch. 
This is a like, a definite like!

8. Raw Mollusks

These are absolutely the favorite food of most people I know here. The mollusks are locally fished, so you know they are fresh, and include mussels, clams, hedgehog sea urchins, date mussels (the long, thin ones - which it is illegal and an ecological disaster to fish...I googled for this photo, so don't sue me!), and those scary-looking red things that look like a tongue and move around on your plate before and while you are eating them because they are alive . . . they are all alive, you know?

This is a big no thank you for me. I know they're fresh, I know they are aphrodisiacal, I know "everyone" likes them, but not me!

9. Taralli

These are a popular local snack food. They are hard like a pretzel, but not quite that hard and not salted. Hard to describe, but good . . . best enjoyed with a nice red wine before your meal. 

10. Olive Oil

I can't leave out olive oil. It's not really a food on its own, but it flavors all Puglian savory dishes. We make our own from the olives grown on the trees out in my yard. Were you wondering why this blog is called "Amid the Olive Trees"?

To read more fun food lists, or to add your own list, head on over to The Good Life.