Cultured Palate: Dishes from Italy

7. Salumi

There are more varieties of salumi in Italy than you can possibly even contemplate. Salumi is a generic term for cured meat, which can be anything ranging from prosciutto to capicollo to bresaola and everything in between. Salumi is an integral part of any antipasti course, served before the main course of a meal.  Although many Italian farmers make and cure their own salumi, any grocery store in Italy will carry a staggering number of different local varieties. Buy some to eat picnic-style with a bottle of wine and a loaf of warm bread.

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8. Cheese

Like salumi, there are hundreds of different varieties of Italian cheese. While everyone has their own preferences, if you’re new to the area you should always try the regional delicacies first. When in doubt, ask a waiter for their recommendation and try things that are new to you. Sure, you’ve heard of provolone or mozzarella, but what about taleggio, robiola, or pecorino? These cheese are a bit more unique, and often harder to find in North America. Plus, because of airline regulations, it’s hard to bring cheese home, so enjoy it while you can.

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9. Bagna Cauda

Bagna cauda is a typical dish from the northern Piedmont region of Italy. Similar to fondue, bagna cauda is made with garlic, anchovies, oil, butter, and sometimes truffle. Then, the mixture is placed in a pan over a flame in the middle of the table, and boiled or raw vegetables are dipped into the hot liquid. This is the perfect dish to enjoy after a day of skiing, or whenever you’re feeling particularly chilled — the warmth and intense flavor profile of the bagna cauda makes it a perfect winter meal.

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