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Oct 26, 2007 10:44 AM

Recommend our next destination in Italy

We spent two weeks in Spain this year, and are already dreaming about our next vacation. I'd like to go somewhere new in Italy that would appeal more to my girfirend's palate than Spain did, although I was in heaven there. We're sort of Jack Spratt-y--I don't eat red meat, but love fish, seafood, anchovies, capers. She's much more pork/beef/milder flavors, and is not a seafood fan. We both love wine and cheese.

We've really enjoyed Piedmont,Tuscany, and the Sud Tyrol area around Bolzano. Any recommendations for other regions that are great to travel in, and would appeal to a carnivore, while still having something for me?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Head south: to Campania (Naples, the Amalfi Coast but also the wilder Cilento Coast);Puglia; and Calabria, especially the Pollino mountains to the north and the Costa Viola near Scilla across the straits from Sicily. All these regions abound in fish, in bright, strong flavors, in great fruit and vegetables, cheeses, and in Calabria, some of Italy's best salumi. Pretty neat wines, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: obob96

      We just returned from a trip to Puglia and Campania, and I'd second those. We had far more vegetables in Puglia than we've had in other parts of Italy. For fish, anchovies, and capers, Sicily would be good--they have pork there, but I believe beef is not as traditional. I think the more subtle flavors of the aristocratic Sicilian food might meet your GFs needs, though.

      Has this thread named every region in Italy yet?

    2. You might consider Emilia-Romagna the alleged culinary "capital" of Italy. There would definitely be something for the meat eater.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bropaul

        Would also recommend Emilia Romagna. I am no longer vegetarian but I was last time I was there and I still found a ton to eat. Piadina bread, cheeses, etc. Ravenna is a beautiful little town with amazing byzantine mosaics. If you go, try la gallina e l'uovo--head down the main drag and take a left (opposite of where you would turn right to go to San Vitale).

      2. Sicily and the Aeolian Islands are amazing. Also the Veneto region with Venice, Verona and Padua. I had delicious risotto nero there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: coubotand

          Second the Veneto. Also, the veneto and emilia romagna are very close. You could easily do both in the same trip. Depending on what towns you choose, the train ride should be at most a few hours. Padova is a GREAT town with lots of good food and only about a 20-30 minute train ride into Venice. If you're in Padova try Mario e Mercedes--don't remember the street--a little off the beaten track but the food was great. They have a huge outdoor grill that the chef cooks on and also had plenty of veggie options for me. They have a lovely patio dining area with a retractable roof in case it rains!

        2. I just came back from the Cinque Terre (south of Portofino) and the Veneto- where I spent a wonderful week at a cooking vacation. Anyone interested in eating and learning how to make home-made pasta, gnocchi and risotto should check it out. All meals included meat or fish in the main course. The wine was freeflowing--Prosecco and other local white and reds.

          1. The Veneto and the lake district are a foodie's paradise. I had one of the best meals of my life at La Rucola in Sirmione on Lake Garda(1 Michelin start but I feel it is better than that). The hotel Villa Serbelloni (1 star also) in Bellagio on Lake Como has a chef who is into "molecular cooking". It was very interesting, some dishes were spectactular, others were good but not overwhelming. Very much like the cutting-edge restaurants in Spain. They also have more traditional dishes but we had the tasting menu which was all molecular so I can't speak for it. The hotel where I stayed in Bellagio, the Silvio, has a wonderful and inexpensive restaurant, with excellent meats and a large selection of lake fish, all beautifully prepared. If you go to Venice, be sure to try Al Covo for a wonderful, high-end meal, and Alla Madonna for the best of trattoria food, packed with both locals and visitors,

            Another region to explore is Umbria, which is a carnivore's paradise, but also has fresh-water fish. Taverna del Lupo in Gubbio is not to be missed, Umbrian cuisine is more interesting and complex than Tuscan.