‘I came for the food’

Many people think of Rome as the religion capital of the world, capital of the Roman Empire and capital of art and culture, but what about the capital of food?

Besides being famous for its historic past, Italy is famous for a wide range of food, including pasta, pizza, cheese, tiramisu, gelato and, of course, wine! No matter what part of Italy you go to, you will always find the same food; the difference is that every region specializes in something different. For example, Roman pizza is thin and crispy, while pizza Napoletana is doughy and risen.

Here in Rome, there are hundreds of places to eat, whether it be a food cart, dine-in restaurant, or even homemade, and make no mistake, whatever you eat WILL be delicious! You will always get your money’s worth and your cravings will always be satisfied. My expectations were high for Italian food, and I must admit that it did not just hit the mark — it went above and beyond! So far, my favorite meal has been in Cinque Terre, on the coast of the Italian Riviera. Being from a beach city myself, I longed for the taste of shrimp and fine seafood, and what better place to start than a beach city in Italy? For less than 10 euros, I was able to satisfy my craving with a cone of deep-fried shrimp, octopus and calamari, and a lemon soda with pulp.

EM.2016.04.17 Came for the Food
Deep-fried seafood goodness hit the spot in Cinque Terre. (credit: Esteban Martinez)

Though there are endless options for food in Rome, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. I have yet to find authentic Mexican food, or any Mexican food for that matter. Another thing that was difficult for me to swallow was that meatballs in spaghetti is not an Italian thing … and to top it off, neither is garlic bread. Thanks a lot, Olive Garden!

Nevertheless, Italy still holds the title for great pasta and wine, among many other things! With gelaterias on almost every corner, gelato is making it rather difficult to budget. A friend of mine in the UC program mentioned to me a few days ago that in the three weeks we have been here, she has spent almost $180 on gelato alone! When I asked her why she was spending so much on food, she responded with, “I came for the food,” as she licked her gelato in a cone dipped in chocolate.

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