I love food. Clear enough? And as far as I’m concerned, one of the major reasons to travel is to see what they’re eating “over there.” And in Italy, it doesn’t take a lot of rummaging to come up with tasty options. Indoors, outdoors, wherever you look, there’s always something worth munching on. And while I have to say that we did eat well–though maybe not often enough to suit me (the Mister’s Boot Camp School of Travel does not include many daylight hours for mundane things like eating, although in all fairness, night-time is a whole different story, not to mention an entirely different post!).
So I’ve always got my eye out for street food, and while I can’t honestly say that I found Italy to be any kind of street foodie mecca, there were certainly options enough, starting with one of my all time favorites: castagne–fresh, hot roasted chestnuts.
I first discovered these hot and toasty earthy delights in Portugal, when I justified my daily dose partly for flavor and partly just for the joy of holding that deliciously warm cone in between my frosty hands on cold winter days.
I honestly don’t know if these are sold year round (doubt it), but since we here in Chile are on the southern hemisphere travel plan–where summer vacation comes in February–we tend to do Europe in winter, when anything that warms both hands and innards is more than welcome!
But there’s certainly more to eat on Italian streets than chestnuts.
When I asked food-loving friends for tips on what not to miss, several suggested gelato, and here, I have to admit I took a pass. Maybe because it was winter. Maybe because ice cream isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but other people were certainly indulging. And even the food carts–open-sided trucks stocked full of just about anything you could find your self craving, from sweets, to sandwiches, to ice cream, to beer and wine (apparently Rome has no qualms (or laws) about consuming alcohol in public spaces.
Some days we popped into a sandwich or pizza shop for a bite to go and stopped briefly to eat in a park. The pizza was great, but these bresaola (dry-cured, Prosciutto-like beef “ham”) sandwiches on thin-yet-crusty bread with cheese and arugula were impossible to resist!
The weather in Rome was really pretty spectacular–considering it was winter–and eating outdoors on the go was easy enough to do. But by the time we got as far north as Venice, however, we were feeling the drop in mercury and were very happy to see this particular street stand! Mmmm, hot mulled wine cupped in chilly hands and slowly sipped in a sunny corner of a centuries-old plaza near Rialto was just what we needed!
How about you? Have a favorite Italian street food that we missed? Maybe a seasonal favorite that will give me an excuse to go back and continue my “research”?