Having lived in Italy and then returning every few years, I feel I have a grasp of the best foods to eat thru taste trial and error. In Milan it’s risotto. But not just any risotto, but Risotto al Nero di Seppia, or risotto with squid ink. This dish is Joe's favourite, and definitely not mine. Critical life events do remain strong in the medial temporal lobe of the brain; I can clearly remember the first restaurant we ordered this in, 29 years ago and I can even remember what I was wearing. Perhaps in this case, the memory of that event is stored more in my nostrils than my brain, as I will never forget the smell of Risotto Nero!
In Firenze and the Tuscan region, all the food is good if you stay away from tourists places. Follow a local to an eatery. You’ll know a Florentine by the sharp clothes and beautiful shoes. Try anything wild boar! Bolognese, crostini, roasts, shanks it’s all good. You can take the plunge on a tripe sandwich from a street vender, but I wouldn't bother as I found it bland.
Rome is a dining utopia. You can’t beat the tourists so every place is good. There are any numbers of delicious pastas but the one Roman families eat is Casio e Pepe, cheese and pepper. So simple yet in each restaurant or trattoria the taste is just a little different.
I will now reveal the best food ever in Rome......drum roll. In the Roma Termini Railway Station, you can find Mr. Panino, a sandwich shop across from tracks 5-6. Mr. Panino has the the best sandwiches in all of Italy.
The bread is crusty and hard on the outside, light and airy on the inside and with just a few pieces of prosciutto crudo, they are to die for. You can get more complex sandwiches, but why? Take the express train in from Leonardo de Vinci - Fiumicino airport, walk to the far side of the terminal and get one for now and one for settling into your room after defying the odds and traffic to your hotel! Buon Appetito!