Arrivederci, Canada! On Friday, April 8th, 2016, host John Catucci of You Gotta Eat Here! heads to Italy to sample some the finest cuisine the country has to offer.
First, John heads to Rome to discover three must-eat restaurants in the Eternal City.
“It’s an incredible eating experience,” he says of the trip. “There’s a difference in just the freshness of the food. There’s something about the soil, about the sun. We can’t get it here.”
“They had a ricotta pasta with a fresh tomato sauce, it wasn’t cooked. It was just fresh tomatoes that [the chef] squeezed with his hands and put mint, thyme and a whole bunch of other fresh herbs and tossed the pasta in it. That was probably the most delicious pasta I’ve ever eaten!”
Unlike here in Canada, Italians believe in smaller portions. Dining is an experience and according to John, Italians don’t rush their meals like we often do.
“There’s no rush to turn over tables. They have an appetite for food. They want the best food possible and they’ll wait around for it. That’s part of the culture. It’s waiting around for a table, being seen, enjoying the moment and having a glass of wine with your meal.”
Just when he thought he was full, it was off to Florence where John tasted paninis — worth lining up all day for — at the busy All’Antico Vinaio. He notes the sandwiches, made fresh to order, cost only 5 Euros.
“There was one fennel-based salami that was so delicious. It was thin and shredded. The bread, they bake fresh all day. There are two other restaurants across the street, so they bake the bread there and bring it back across to cut it,” he says.
But what’s a trip to Italy without pizza? That’s exactly what John ate at Tonda.
There, they make their cacio e pepe pizza by shaping the dough, then laying ice on it before putting it in the oven. This slows the cooking process of the top of the dough, leaving it moist, while the bottom becomes crisp. John adds that chef and owner Stefano Callegari uses 200-year-old sourdough for the tasty pies.
Tune in to a special one-hour episode of You Gotta Eat Here! Italy Edition on Friday, April 8 at 9 E/P. No passport required!