You are cordially invited on an Italian odyssey! Let’s take a journey across the 20 Italian regions – It’s going to be fun and tasty! Nowhere else will you find such a great variety of food, traditions and cultures in such a “small” country like mine.
Because of its turbulent history, Italy has a variety of traditions and, of course, most of them are food related.
Although the concept of street food is very current and fashionable, in fact it has its roots deep in the past. To be considered “street food” it must be ready to eat and sold on streets or public places like during markets and fairs. Mostly it is quite cheap, but traditional and definitely delicious!
Indeed such is the popularity of street food that recently, a national competition was held with dozens of street chefs, and the first three winning specialities couldn’t be more different from each other:
from Sicily, “pani ca” meusa schiettu (beef spleen Panini, cooked in lard)
from Veneto, “folpetti” (small octopus served with parsley and lemon sauce)
from Umbria, “crepes with sella and pecorino” (crepes with a special herbed lard cold cut with pecorino)
From north to south we will dig into traditions and tastes, to explore the best Italian street food and some traditional dishes as well.
I'd like to share with you this recipe from my home town. This is my favourite street food. What's yours?
1 pound (450 g) chickpea flour
(opt. Freshly squeezed lemon juice)
Salt (opt. pepper)
Heat 1,5 lt of water. When it reaches a boil remove it from the fire and sift in the flour, stirring constantly.
The resulting "polenta" should be smooth and not too thick. Return the pot to the fire and cook the panissa for about an hour and 20 minutes, stirring constantly; should it dry out too much while it's cooking stir in more boiling water.
Once it's done, divvy it out into bowls, and serve it with salt, pepper, and cruets of olive oil and lemon juice, which your diners will use to season their panissa to taste.
In Savona people customarily split slices of focaccia and fill them with panissa to make panissa sandwiches; he says that such a sandwich is a one-course meal and requires a good glass of wine to wash it down.