Cultured Palate: Dishes from Italy

10. Trippa alla Romana

Originally a favorite dish of Rome’s working class neighborhoods, trippa alla romana is a made of tripe stewed with tomatoes. In order to make the offal tender and succulent, the meat is stewed at least 45 minutes in tomato sauce and white wine, then garnished with a generous heaping of grated pecorino romano. The ideal place to get this dish is still in Rome’s Testaccio district Farmer’s Market. The stall Morde e Vai is known for having the best sandwiches around — crusty bread filled with a generous portion of trippa alla romana.

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11. Cassata Siciliana

This is a dish that you’ll definitely want to try while in Italy, especially because it can be a real pain to make at home. Marzipan is rolled into a mold, then filled with sweetened, whipped ricotta, chocolate chips, and layers of sponge cake. Then the whole confection is garnished with icing and candied fruit. Cassata siciliana can be found in restaurants on the dessert menu, but it is often left to professional bakers. The best in the world is rumored to be found at popular bakery Irrera 1910 in Messina, Sicily.

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12. Gelato

Similar to ice cream, but denser and lower in fat, there are numerous restrictions on what can be called gelato in Italy, ensuring that only the highest quality products are served. Make sure when you’re out hunting for good gelato, that you take note of the colors being scooped — good gelato shouldn’t have any artificial colouring. A good test of this is the pistachio flavor as it should look brownish-green and dull colored. If you ever see a shop serving bright green pistachio gelato, keep walking.

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