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Top Must-Try Dishes in Northern Italy

April 2, 2024 Pilar Marotta 1 Comment

As many say, food is the way to the soul, and for Italy, it is true. Italia, consisting of twenty regions, is known for influencing the globe through its legendary cuisine. In fact, many people visit this beautiful country with the explicit goal of trying as much food as possible, particularly pasta. With so many regions and geographical features, the types of pasta vary in several ways, from shape to length to sauce absorption. You might be thinking that there cannot be that many diverse types of pasta, but there are about 158 different varieties of pasta to choose from.

Pasta in the north of Italy is known for being truly diverse in overall aspects like appearance and flavors. Known for its wealth and an abundance of farm-to-table ingredients, the Northern region shows their high quality, simplistic dishes in many different forms.

Some very common types of pastas that you will come across are Tagliatelle, Pappardelle and Fettuccine. These are long, wide noodles that are perfect for soaking up the rich sauces of the north. Remember, it gets colder up there than in the south, so hearty dishes are deeply ingrained in the culture.

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When pairing these pastas with a sauce, you can’t miss out on bolognese, a hearty, heavy sauce of tomatoes, carrots, onion, celery and a rich ragu, usually of meat. If you are looking for a place to try the best bolognese sauce that you will ever encounter, you should make a stop in the northern region known as Emilia-Romagna. In this region sits the beautiful cities of Bologna and Parma, from which some of the most famous Italian cuisine exports hail. Think of the names Parmagiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and Bolognese! It has also been said that the world’s best lasagna lies in a small restaurant in Bologna. Heading over to Florence in the Toscana region, be sure to order the pappardelle al cinghiale, pasta with boar, which is a local specialty.

If you want a hearty meal but want a break from noodles, in the north you also have to try the rich dish of risotto. Made traditionally with arborio rice, risotto can take on any flavor, from squid ink to butternut squash and eggplant. When cooked at a northern restaurant, you can be sure it will come out creamy and flavorful. Another hearty non-pasta dish of note is polenta, a corn meal porridge that is sure to warm you up after time spent in the north’s mountain regions of Piedmont and Lombardy.

But northern pasta is not all about heavy sauces! If you are someone that enjoys seafood, then you are in luck. Regions like Liguria and Veneto are two areas that frequently incorporate locally sourced seafood into their dishes. Be sure to try some pasta alle vongole (with clams) in seaport cities such as Portofino and Ravenna. And for basil lovers, a pilgrimage to Genova, the home of pesto genovese, may also be in order.

The Northern region is known for its distinct types of pastas and their high-quality ingredients. You have the chance to try some of the best flat noodles, risotto, polenta and all sorts of amazing ingredients. After trying these dishes, you will not want to leave this region – But there is plenty more to explore in the south!

Discover Italy with ACIS Tours: We’ll show you the best of Italia with centrally located hotels, top-tier Tour Managers, and the most value included in your itinerary. And did we mention lots and lots of quality Italian food?

Pilar Marotta

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