Italy is a nation known for its food, with Italians eating around 23 kilos of pasta every year.
No holiday to Italy is complete without diving head first into their incredible food culture.
So, we’ve put this post together for you to help you discover the 10 famous Italian dishes that you must try when cruising with us onboard the hotel barge, La Bella Vita.
Lasagne alla Bolognese
Lasagna Alla Bolognese is a popular dish all over the world, featuring multiple layers of beef, tomato, and onion bolognese sauce, bechamel sauce, and lasagne pasta sheets until the cheesy top. This is a rich and warming dish that goes perfectly with a bold red wine.
This dish was invented in the city of Bologna in the Emilia region, and it has risen to immense popularity. It has become somewhat of an Italian institution, and many people consider it to represent the nation.
Fettuccine al Pomodoro
Pomodoro is another classical Italian dish that is delicious in its simplicity. Pomodoro simply means “tomato,” and it is the tomato and basil sauce that gives this dish its iconic fresh taste. It is the perfect light dish to relax with after a long day exploring.
At first glance, many people mistake the Pomodoro sauce for a marinara sauce traditionally paired with spaghetti rather than fettuccine.
Although the two use similar ingredients, they are distinct from each other, with the marinara sauce being liquidy and chunky, while Pomodoro sauce is much thicker and smoother.
Gnocchi di Patate
Gnocchi di patate is a popular alternative to pasta, traditionally eaten at lunch in central Italy and made by grandmothers across the nation. Gnocchi can be eaten with most pasta sauces, so there are many exciting gnocchi flavours you can try.
Melanzane alla Parmigiana
Another traditional but famous Italian dish served on La Bella Vita cruises is Melanzane Alla Parmigiana. This dish is thick and baked, deeply warming your insides on colder evenings. It is made with thinly sliced aubergine that is then topped with cheese.
Pollo alla Cacciatora
Pollo Alla cacciatora is a classic chicken stew dish that was born centuries ago in Tuscany. The chicken is fried and given a traditional and warming seasoning. It is then stewed with olive oil, tomatoes, and red wine in a casserole dish and served piping hot.
Perhaps even more famous than pasta is the pizza Margherita, which is the most simple pizza with just tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella cheese.
This staple pizza is impossible to not like, loved even by food connoisseurs who want to go back to something delectably Moorish.
On the other hand, if you have a more restricted pallet, it can be an easy introduction to pizza which will allow you to comfortably try a whole range of other options.
Costoletta alla Milanese
With costoletta alla Milanese, we move away from the staple dishes that have populated the list so far, but we remain with the classics. This Milan signature was invented in 1148. A veal cutlet is coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter.
The result is tender veal meat with a crunchy coating. This Lombardy dish is popular amongst all chefs in the region. It can be found from the most basic of cafes to a Michelin-starred restaurant to onboard our hotel cruise.
Vitello tonnato is another veal dish, with its literal translation being “tunnied veal.” It is a dish designed for the long evenings of an elegant summer. The veal is cooked, cut into thin slices, and then chilled. For service, it is covered with a creamy sauce flavoured with tuna. A slice of lemon gives this light summer dish a beautiful tang, making it the perfect antipasto before enjoying any of our other excellent dishes.
We now move on to the most tantalising part of our list, the desserts. We begin with an Italian icon, the tiramisù.
You may have seen other flavours emerging as tiramisù makers seek to capture your interest. However, by far the best kind of tiramisù to try is the traditional one.
In a traditional tiramisù, the chef layers soft biscuits with espresso coffee, mascarpone cheese, sugar, egg, wine, rum, and cocoa powder.
The coffee and the touch of alcohol make the dish the perfect “pick me up”, getting you ready for an evening’s entertainment.
It is also the kind of dish that has such a strong flavour that it will linger pleasantly in your mouth for the whole evening, right until you brush your teeth.
The final famous Italian dish to mention is pannacotta which sits on the opposite end of the richness spectrum to tiramisù. It is a much lighter and easy-to-eat alternative, consisting of a firm cream that is silky with a milky taste.
It is usually flavoured with golden sugar, giving it a nutty and toasty sweetness. You will enjoy this subtle yet distinctive flavour that makes many diners choose pannacotta over tiramisù.
Many people compare pannacotta to a custard, but it is different. Using gelatin in the mix allows it to set into a solid structure, giving pannacotta its sophisticated appearance.
Where to Enjoy these Famous Italian Dishes
This list has described the 10 most famous Italian dishes that any traveller to the nation must enjoy before they leave.
On the hotel barge La Bella Vita, the chef can prepare all of them for you, and you can enjoy them while watching the world slowly drift by from the comfort of our deck.
Food is not where the service offered on hotel barge La Bella Vita ends. Onboard our stylish 20-passenger boat, you can enjoy many areas for casual relaxation, such as our bar area or our spacious dining room.
You can enjoy meeting your fellow travellers in both of these areas. On the top deck, we have a large sun deck where you can lounge and try the delicacies described under the warm Italian sun. At the end of the evening, you can retire to your air-conditioned and en-suite room.
Ready to try these for yourself?
Guests who cruise with us aboard luxury hotel barge La Bella Vita will have the opportunity to try the dishes listed above, all freshly prepared by our local chef using the finest ingredients.