• phyl

Italy: Eating Through Italy with Phyl

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

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!

Nero di Seppia

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!

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About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at oldbagonaplane@gmail.com

Around this time each year, we would create a recap of all our best adventures from the year just passed. As this is 2021, and there were no adventures in 2020, here is a short video montage of all the things we did while we were not doing anything at all.