From Rome to London - constantly looking for places to shout "I LOVE IT!" at.
Published February 20th 2017
Not-so-famous Italian food you have to try
Shout out to all the Italian lovers or nostalgic out there: just because you're in London, it doesn't mean you can't have it the Italian way.
Today, it's not about Franco Manca's pizzas nor about the (mostly fake) Italian restaurants you can find everywhere. It's about the pure, original Italian food we all crave. It's no secret that Italians are the masters of cooking, and we all know how difficult it is to find a way to recreate that beautiful carbonara you had in Rome when you get back to London, even if you're actually Italian.
Today, my friends, our prayers have been answered.
Where to go
Paradise is a place on earth, even though we called it the Borough Market. You can find everything you need from all over the world, and you can be sure it is fresh and high in quality. Just a few metres from the London Bridge tube, the Borough Market has it all: cheese, fruits, vegetables, sauces, meat, fish, just name it and you'll be able to find it.
What to get: a short list of awesome suggestions
As I said, you can find anything you want at the Borough Market and Italian food is no different. I'm not talking about the cans of Carbonara sauce (which does not exist in Italy: it is freshly made every time) that you can find at your local supermarket. We've got bigger than that.
You can find things you've never even heard of unless you've been to specific places in Italy: things so good and yet so hard to find as soon as you move to another country.
An example of that is porchetta, a delicious pork roast typical of the central part of Italy. The most famous (and delicious) one is the one from Ariccia, a small city near Rome. It has been included in the list of the Italian traditional agricultural-alimentary products, but not many people have tried it abroad, nor even know it exists. Well, it does exist, it is awesome, and you can try it at the Borough Market at the "Gastronomica" stand.
How to have it the Italian way: So you bought your porchetta and now you want to try it. It's probably the easiest Italian thing to eat. You can might as well eat it as it gets, no need to warm it up. Or you can buy a sandwich, grill it a bit, and put the cold porchetta in it. Fast, easy, and delicious.
If you're planning something fancy to impress your friends, go instead to the "La Tua Pasta" stand (which is right across from "Gastronomica"). They have fresh pasta in every way possible, and each one looks so delicious I wanted to cry. You will have a variety of choices there, so be focused. Tortellini, pappardelle, ravioli, gnocchi, and everything you've ever dreamed of.
How to have it the Italian way: My advice is to buy the pappardelle and have them with a delicious wild-boar ragout (if you've ever been to Tuscany, you'll know what I'm talking about). But you can also try real tortellini (which are not the chicken and bacon ones you can find everywhere, Italians don't do that)
Finally, make all your dishes a little more Italian. If you pass by "The Olive Oil Co" stand, don't hesitate.Just buy that bottle for your own pleasure. In Italy, oil is almost abused, it is literally everywhere. And the one from "The Olive Oil Co" is from Puglia, which means it is the greatest you can find.
How to have it the Italian way: do you know what is even simpler than a tomato bruschetta? The oil-and-salt one!
Let your slice of rustic bread grill for a bit (for good quality bread, go to the "Olivier's Bakery" stand, not Italian but still awesome), and just put some oil and salt on it. That's it. You just cooked a common Italian appetizer!