Destin-Nation Italy: Looking Beyond Pizza and Pasta

by Rebecca Ballhaus Subscribe to Rebecca Ballhaus's posts Posted Jun 17th 2011 09:40 AM

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Italian food is no mystery: Pizza and pasta are staples of everyday eating in many parts of the globe. But real Italian food varies greatly different from the ol' Sunday gravy Grandma used to make.

One caveat when traveling to Italy is that meal times there are strict, and are often far later than they are in the U.S. Lunch does not generally begin until 1 p.m., and dinner is not until 8 or 9. Restaurants also close between mealtimes.

"The one thing that Americans have a difficult time with is that the restaurants don't open till after 8," says Nicola Marzovilla, owner of the Apulian restaurant I Trulli in downtown Manhattan who offered gourmet guidance for this tour.

Attitudes towards food rules are no less stringent: nobody drinks cappuccino after about 1 p.m., never put cheese on seafood dishes, and nobody's food is as good as mama's.

Getting to Italy should be a piece of cake. There are dozens of nonstop flights to a broad range of cities, all for under $1000.

Buon Appetito!