We forced ourselves to do it. We've picked our top 5 plates and our top 5 desserts from Italy! Please excuse the not-so-perfect picture quality in a couple of the shots. What can I say, we were excited to eat.
So, in no particular order, here we go...
This one probably looks the worst but was likely the best plate we had (okay, so there is a bit of an order!). It's gnocchi in a parmesan cream sauce with sage. I don't know what else to say. It was perfect. If you're heading to Alba, Italy, get in touch.
This is sformato. It's a savory custard found – as a starter – on nearly every menu in the region. We had it a bunch of times and really loved it. Think soufflé and, in this case, gorgonzola cream sauce.
Our hosts have a pizza oven so, one night, treated us to a series of delicious pizzas. Here you'll see cheese, tomatoes and asparagus on a whole wheat crust. It was wonderful. Pizza night was one of our most memorable travel experiences and something we won't soon forget.
As we've written about, we went to a few festival events during our time in Italy. One event, where we walked from vendor to vendor sampling food and wine, was particularly memorable. Prior to a hellacious thunderstorm busting out and scaring us away, we were able to sample nearly every offering. This is agnolotti, a ravioli common in Piedmont and – like the sformato above – on most menus. We had it probably a dozen times, but this right-out-of-the-pot concoction was our favorite.
Another pasta common to the Piedmont region, tajarin, showed up constantly. We're glad it did. Here too, our best sampling of it came from the walking festival. This shot shows how it came directly from preparation to plate.
On to sweets!
Let's start with some gelato. This serving of our favorite combo, chocolate and pistachio, was pretty perfect – not too creamy and not too chalky.
This salted caramel macaron that we devoured in Milan was spectacular.
This came from the same place that the gnocchi (above) came from. It's a take on tiramisu We thought it tasted like a creme brûlée / tiramisu hybrid (with hints of chocolate and coffee). Again, let us know if you're heading to Alba!
Like sformato and agnolotti, semifreddo was on nearly every menu we looked at. It's often described as a semi-frozen custard/gelato. I know, heaven. And this take, with caramel and chocolate, was particularly heavenly. In the background, you'll see another favorite – fresh strawberries sitting in a pool of moscato.
So, that one walking festival is responsible for three of our top ten entries. Here, you see our favorite gelato from the trip. An ode to regional wines, half is moscato flavored, half is barbera flavored.