I already knew that Italian food was loved around the world but I wasn’t really aware of how much until now. For the last few weeks I have had the chance to travel through Germany, and now being in the Czech Republic, and I have been surprised by the amount of Italian restaurants (or just average restaurants claiming to serve pizza and pasta) that I have found on my way.
Most of them aren’t even run by Italian people. In fact, some German friends told me that most of the Italian restaurants in their city were run by people from Croatia. Well, I have never had the chance to try Croatian food but no doubt they thought Italian cuisine would be more popular than their native specialties.
In some cities I have even seen more Italian restaurants than restaurants serving local food. For sure that’s because most of the people prefer to eat pizza and pasta rather than trying the local specialties. But why is that? If we have the chance to try new and local food, why do we sometimes stick to pizza and pasta, even if we are in Germany?
The Italian cuisine, with its endless pasta recipes and its easy-to-eat pizza has become a safe bet when you are travelling around the world. It doesn’t matter where you are. You can have an informal meal out of a slice of pizza nearly everywhere, or you can have a proper and romantic night in a nice Italian ristorante, surrounded by the light of some candles and the smell of home-made dishes.
Maybe sometimes we just prefer not to take the risk. And although I love trying new dishes when I am abroad I must confess I have sinned too. Last night I went to an Italian ristorante here in Prague. There are so many that it was difficult not to do it. So a friend living in the city took me to the best, not only for the food but also for its amazing location: the place, called ristorante Grosseto, is a “floating restaurant” on the Vltava river. There we had the chance to savour one of the most delicious pasta dishes I have ever had, while admiring the Charles Bridge and Prague’s castle. Could I ask for more? So although Czech cuisine is great too, I don’t regret having betrayed it for just one night.
Italian food really has something that makes us feel it as ours. You don’t have to be in Rome anymore to eat good Italian food, as this has crossed the borders and has become not just an Italian patrimony but a world-wide pleasure.
About the author
Marta Mir has a degree in Journalism. But tired of listening to the stories of politicians in power she decided to flee to distant lands to, like the ancient troubadours, come back and tell her own stories. Now she has less money but is much happier.
How about you? Do you tend to seek out one cuisine over another when you travel?