Cultured Palate: Dishes from Italy

You would be crazy to holiday in Italy without knowing anything about local cuisine. Sure, most people have a vague idea of what Italian food is — we picture triangle slices of pizza, spaghetti in a rich sauce, or maybe even desserts like cannoli. But did you know that Italian food varies hugely region to region? Each city has their own specialities, and you can enjoy the freshest, most delicious food if you stick to regional, seasonal dishes.

1. Pizza

Pizza has always been, and will always be, one of the most famous Italian exports. But what we know as pizza in the United States — round, cut into triangle slices — is very different than how most Italians eat it. Pizza is traditionally made in a wood-fired oven, and since its kept at such high heat, it only needs to be cooked for a minute or two. This leaves a blistered, perfectly chewy crust. Romans will also eat pizza al taglio, which means “by the slice.” Patrons belly up to the counter of any pizzeria and choose from a variety of large rectangular pizzas, which are then sliced and sold by weight.

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