Street Food (and Coffee): Italy

When I think of places to get great street food, Italy doesn’t immediately spring to mind for some reason – i automatically think of Asia. After our recent trip however, Italy will be a close second to Vietnam in my top street food countries!

Here’s some of the Street Food (and coffee) we sampled…

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Arancini

Balls of Risotto rice, traditionally stuffed with mozzarella, meat ragu, & peas, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried – these are a meal in themselves! For about 1 euro you can’t go wrong… Arancini at the top is from Naples, on the bottom from Sicily – both tasted awesome, it was only really the shape that differentiated them.

An Arancini recipe that i really want to try is this one – Arancini stuffed with Truffles and Dolcelatte Gorgonzola – not as rustic as the original arancini’s but still sounding delicious!

There’s a neapolitan street food restaurant in Bath that i haven’t been to for a while called Yammo! Will have to go back to sample their arancini’s…

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Italian Fish & Chips

When in Amalfi, we spotted a street vendor selling lots of things in cones to the locals and were intrigued… We found out it was all variations on Fish & Chips! Little whole fried fishes, calamari, mixed seafood, or wedges of lightly battered cod and mini potatoes. We both went for the latter to see how it compares with the english version. You get a huge cone filled with lots of little potatoes, two hunks of white fish in batter, a big wedge of lemon, and a stick to skewer the food on. Apart from the potatoes not being particularly hot, it was pretty tasty – the fish was great and tasted really fresh, and it felt a little healthier than the english version (although i love me some proper F&C!)

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Panelle and Crocche

Palermo is known for its street food and has lots of different scary sounding options, such as Pani ca Meusa (bread rolls stuffed with beef spleen) or Stigghiola (goat intestine filled with onions, cheese and parsley)! Unfortunately for us, when wandering the food market we didn’t come across those two options 😉

We did instead find some street food we had wanted to try – Panelle (Chickpea fritters) and Crocche (mashed potato croquettes flavoured with mint and a hint of cheese). These were filling and quite more-ish, despite being very simple ingredients.

A recipe for Panelle that i’ve had on my pinterest for a while is this one – which turns the fritters into fries and serves them with a dipping sauce. Must try!

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Cannoli and Gelati

Sweet stuff! Sicily is known for its pastries, and the Cannoli is one of the most popular. Made from Pastry dough shaped into a tube and fried, it is then filled with a sweetened ricotta mixture, and studded with pistachio’s at either end. There were other variations of this available, but this one was tasty – couldn’t eat more than one though as they’re pretty sweet.

Gelati needs no introduction, the fabulous italian ice cream is everywhere and in any flavour you can think of. The one in the photo above is Tiramisu flavour, but my favourite was probably cherries & ‘fior di latte’ which literally translates as milk’s flower, and is a very creamy milky vanilla flavour – delicious with the cherries and some kirsch 🙂

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Coffee

I’m not sure you can really go to Italy and not drink coffee (although my dad will protest at this statement!), it’s just so readily available, in many different forms, and makes me feel a bit italian – apart from when drinking the crazy iced cappuccino with whipped cream in the last photo!

Apparently italians tend to only drink cappuccino’s as a breakfast drink, and it is then replaced with the espresso until the next day. We tried to stick to the italian way as much as possible… the top two photos are of Caffe Freddo (Iced coffee) – a bit different to the iced coffees of Starbucks and co, these are just espressos shaken with ice, in a champagne glass – very sophisticated 😉

The next two photos are of an espresso on the beach (they really are everywhere) and a ‘espresso to go’ a travel pack of tiny cartons of espresso and chocolate with a little straw – in case you can’t get your coffee fix any other way…

And finally the aforementioned Cappuccino – it was before lunch so i think we got away with it! This was more like an iced coffee you’d get in the UK, but that’s not a criticism  – it was blinking tasty – just needed to do an awful lot of walking to work off that and the complimentary biscuits…

20140726_112539We purchased a little stove-top espresso maker as a souvenir as we’d enjoyed using them in our airbnb places – we can now make coffee in many different ways, including vietnamese, but never instant – i’m a coffee snob…

A snapshot of Southern Italy

The OH and I got back from a little Southern Italian road trip last week, and I wish we were still there!

We spent five nights on the Amalfi Coast, three nights in Matera (a town in Basilicata, near Puglia, with cave dwellings and rock churches from the 8th Century), four nights near Taormina (Sicily), and two nights in Palermo (Sicily again).

The weather was hot and sunny the whole two weeks, and it was nice to explore some parts of Italy I hadn’t been to before (Sicily and Matera), and re-visit some parts I last went to twenty two years ago (Amalfi Coast)!

Food-wise we weren’t disappointed either: We had Pizza in Naples – where it was invented (!), Gelato, LOTS of Coffee, Pasta, mediterranean vegetables, grilled meats, antipasti, and lots of street food 🙂

I will do a dedicated post on Italian Street Food shortly, but in the meantime here’s a few photo’s of our trip…

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Positano, and a Tiramisu Gelato in Amalfi

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Ravello, and the size of Amalfi lemons!

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Matera, and one of their amazing churches carved out of rock

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Buying Zucchini flowers to stuff, and the famous Festival of the Madonna in Matera

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The beach 1min walk from our flat in Sicily, and a pit-stop in Taormina for some Caffe Freddo

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Isola Bella, and Taormina’s Greco-Roman Amphitheatre

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Palermo’s Arab-inspired Cathedral, and some street food in the market.

Where we stayed:

Amalfi Coast – Flat in Castellammare di Stabia

Matera – an actual cave!

Taormina – 10min bus journey from Taormina

Palermo – Great location

Where we ate (that i recommend!):

Positano – Da Costantino – Authentic tasty Italian food and amazing view of Positano

Matera – Trattoria del Caveoso – Rustic Materan cuisine

Giardini-Naxos – Le Desir Piquant – Good seafood and Pasta with Pistachio’s!

Taormina – Granduca – Great view of the coast and tasty Sicilian cuisine

Palermo – Mon Cafe – Great food and good service

Street food coming soon…