Why is Italian Food so much better in Italy

I have asked this question over and over again. Even when Italians move from Italy to America, their food changes! Why? There are many reasons I have seen:

  1. Food in Italy is naturally organic and fresh
  2. Produce is sold only fresh (never canned or frozen)
  3. The fruit & vegetables still have dirt on them and smell good
  4. Cut into a tomato and it smells and tastes like a great tomato
  5. Great food takes time to prepare (Americans are always in a hurry)
  6. Food in Italy is a love for Italians and a way of life
  7. There are American fast food junks but most people eat well most of the time
  8. Fried foods exist but the oil is fresh and the temperature is maintained to absorb as little oil as possible (in America it is not profitable to use fresh oil all the time)
  9. Dolce (Sweets) are never too sweet. Chocolate is usually dark but even the milk chocolate is no where as sweet as here
  10. Pastries are crispy and flaky (I remember these here when I was a boy but they are really hard to find now)
  11. Ice Cream is not as sweet or fatty, Gelato is a different recipe from our Ice Cream
  12. Stores exist to make one type of thing well, Our little town in southern Italy has the following types of stores::
  • Bread store
  • Sandwich store (Panini)
  • Pasta store
  • Fruit and Vegetable store
  • Bufala Mozzarella store
  • Pastry shop
  • Butcher Shop
  • Fish Store
  • Chocolate shop
  • Wine store

We survive on extra-large refrigerators (sometimes two) and huge freezers. In Italy there are normally no separate freezers and the refrigerator is small by American standards. Why? It is because everyone shops for that day only! husband and wives in our town bring home what they need for dinner and maybe breakfast fresh. The refrigerator is plenty big for that. Pizzas are normally eaten at a restaurant not taken home or delivered. This allows them to be eaten hot they way they were meant to be eaten. Gelato is eating at a Gelateria. Bringing it home and putting it in the freezer forms ice crystals and changes the flavors. Vegetables and fruits are so fresh, tasty and smell so good. Why wouldn’t you eat more of them?

I have spoken to many restaurant owners that have had successful restaurants in Italy and in America but the food here is VERY different from Italy. When I ask them why? They say:

  1. Americans complain about al dente pasta so we make it soft
  2. American’s want huge portions so they can take it home for another meal (but it won;t taste the same)
  3. Americans don’t want a lot of vegetables
  4. They want very sweet desserts
  5. They want fatty pasta sauces like Alfredo (which was invented by a roman for the American market)

So when you finally make your trip to Italy, stay away from touristy places and big hotel restaurants. Get out and go to small trattoria’s that Italians are eating at. Order the specials. Enjoy the bread and the taste of the food. Have some wine to sit and relax with. Observe the other people. ENJOY … ENJOY … W+ENJOY!

George & Jo Anne



Categories: Chocolate, Cooking, Eating Italian, Europe, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Why is Italian Food so much better in Italy

  1. Pingback: Why is Italian Food So Much Better in Italy | The * Grazie * Girl *

    • I think produce is different, water is different and cuts of meat are different. They try to get close to what they had in Italy. Even here we have differences. Sour dough bread in San Francisco is great but it can not be made the same elsewhere. Many bakers have tried. They say it is the water and its affect on the yeast. Who knows.

  2. Nice post….the Italians know how to embrace ‘slow’ in every way. No wonder they are a gregarious bunch. Shopping includes several little shop stops. I love it…

  3. Great post George! My Zia has a house in Casal Velino Marina! I’ve only visited once. I’m off to the Assoc of Italian Canadian Writers’ Conference in Padula on Wednesday! Ciao, Cristina

  4. You can try to duplicate Italian food here in America but it will never work , everything about food in Italy is made with fresh ingredients and of course LOVE , SO GO TO ITALY AND EXPERIENCE THEIR FOODS and you will see , as we Italian say ” LA DOLCE VITA PER TUTTI “

  5. I love this post George. Having only been once to Italy, and for some VERY strange reason had little appetite – but what I did eat was wonderful!!!! My favorite place was in Venice was Cantione Gia’ Schiavi in the Dorsorduro. I kept going back often. One of the reasons that I can’t wait to return to Italy is for the food – to experience all that I missed that first time.

    • Rae I obviously agree totally with you. Have you watched my video vlogs? Each Monday, I walk you through a different city in Italy. Some are large cities, some small mountain towns and others are beach resorts.

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