By Sara Hennings
A lot of people these days are embracing the foodie culture that has become a huge part of our generation. Gastronomic cuisine consisting of an amuse bouche, deconstructed dishes, and amazing presentations of some of the most simple ingredients. Hold up, amus…what? Don’t get me wrong, the foodie culture is fantastic and I so appreciate the fact that our generation is beginning to see the wonder that is food, but let’s get back to basics. And by basics I mean Southern Italian cuisine.
These guys have the basics down to an art and have been the masters for the past few centuries.
My body is ready.
1. Spaghetti Frutti di Mare: This is so important. Linguine, mussels, clams, shrimp, and any other kind of seafood that you can think of in the sea in a white wine, tomato, garlic and butter sauce. Game over.
2. Fried Calamari: I know, I know this seems cliche, but have you ever had fresh calamari fried to golden perfection with a little fresh lemon squeezed over top? Next question.
3. Pizza: When you’re this close to Naples, the birthplace of the pizza pie, you can’t go wrong with a classic brick-oven-fired Margherita ‘za. Just the right amount of soft, yet crunchy pizza crust, fresh tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella slices, with a couple of basil leaves on top. Is your mouth watering yet?
4. Insalata Caprese: Native to the island of Capri (“Salad of Capri” is the direct translation), this plate embodies Italy, literally. The colors of the dish: red, white, and green, make up the colors of the Italian flag and the tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves will not disappoint. Top with a little salt and olive oil and you’ve got a refreshing dish to enjoy after a long morning of amazing views, boating around the island, and sipping limoncello. Life’s tough.
5. Anything Involving Citrus: If you’ve traveled to Southern Italy, specifically the Amalfi Coast, you know that trees full of lemons the size of your head are everywhere you look. Pasta and shrimp sauteed in a lemon cream sauce, limoncello (more to come on this topic later), lemon granitas…just lemon everything.
6. Perfect Paninis in Positano: Vini & Panini. Oh my sandwich. This place is one of my favorite sandwich shops on the Amalfi Coast. I always go classic here. The ingredients are super fresh and these sandwiches are begging to be @foodintheair Instagrammed. Prosciutto, fresh tomatoes, arugula, buffalo mozzarella, and pesto. Perfetto.
7. Fresh Fish: You want to talk about basics? Nothing more basic and still amazingly delicious than a plate of fresh fish from the Italian coastline cooked with garlic and lemon. The lemon and the garlic bring out the amazing flavor from the fish and you can’t deny how great the seafood is in Southern Italy.
8. Limoncello and Granitas: Nectars of the gods. When life gives you lemons, make limoncello and granitas. Limoncello is a sweet liqueur that is typically served chilled and at the end of a meal to help digest all of that delicious food. That means it’s healthy, right?? There’s even chocolate limoncello that tastes like straight chocolate syrup. Granitas are my favorite way to cool off on a hot day in the Amalfi Coast. They are a frozen drink made from freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice and shaved ice. You can even add a bit of vodka if you like for a refreshing cocktail.
9. Cannoli: The holy grail of Italian dolci. The Sicilians have perfected the art of the cannoli and I dare you not to love them. It’s the perfect combination of crunchy, sweet, and delectable goodness.
So next time you are in the Amalfi Coast or traveling around southern Italy, I have to insist that you try all of these foods because we know the calories don’t count when you’re studying abroad.
Trying to figure out how to get there? We’re here to help.
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