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Our Guides Reveal Their Favorite Italian Dishes

Posted by Diamond Coleman

Our renowned tour leaders aren’t just fit cyclists showing you all the sights. Most were born and raised in Italy and Europe and live there year-round, and they know their cuisines! Having traveled and cycled hundreds of miles throughout Europe, they have diverse palates. But for many of them, the savory foods and wines of Italy are at the top of their foodie lists. Read on to find out their ultimate favorites!


Bistecca-Alla-FiorentinaBistecca fiorentina

"My favorite food is bistecca fiorentina, or Tuscan meat. I like il Passito wine because it's sweet. And I like meat because it represents the region where I was born—Pontedera in Tuscany—and where I live." -Fabiana Luperni


rigatoni-amatricianaRigatoni all'amatriciana

"Have you ever heard about amatriciana? It gets its name from the earthquake of Amatrice that happened about two years ago in the Apennines of central Italy, not very far from the traditional food and wine of Italy. In that region, there is a special kind of pasta called rigatoni all'amatriciana, made with only three ingredients: pancetta (cheek of pork), fresh tomatoes and pecorino cheese “come se piovesse” ("like it rains"). But this kind of pasta is very difficult to find and reproduce on your own. First, because you have to find the organic ingredients, which are very difficult even for me to find in a big city like Rome. Second, because there are so many different wines that this dish pairs with!

On our Bike Across Italy tour, we cycle through four regions, and you'd be able to find several wines to pair amatriciana with. If you’re in Tuscany, you can pair it with Chianti or Montepulciano red wine. If you're in Umbria, you can have this dish with a Sagrantino red wine. My friends from Puglia bring me some Primitivo wine from Manduria—my favorite is called Elegia. And if you have a friend coming from Naples, they can bring you a Lacrima Christi, which is produced in small fields nearby the Vesuvio volcano.

And I know of a restaurant in Rome that whisks rigatoni all'amatriciana inside a big piece of pecorino cheese. The creamy result is: go biking 24 hours, non-stop! And 48 hours if you've had red wine!" -Vincenzo Nizza
"I like a cool Panzanella and a glass of Vernaccia di S. Gimignano as I sit on a lounge chair at Il Molinello, the family-run argriturismo on our Tuscany Green bike tour!" -Marcello Bonini
Castello di Verrazzano Chianti
"I love a well done Tuscan taglierewooden cutting board laden with tasty Tuscan prosciutto, finocchiona, pecorino cheese (fresh or semi-aged), some fresh fennel and chopped carrot and fresh melon. Panzanella (Tuscan bread, onion and cucumber salad) on the side; all goes nicely paired with either a glass of Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico, or maybe even a nice crisp Selvapiana Rosè." -Carol Sicbaldi

orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabeOrecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe

"My favorite food is orecchiette con cima di rapa (orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe), and my favorite wine is Susumaniello. A variety of red wine grape from the 'heel' of Italy, this wine is an ancient grape variety which is grown in the province of Brindisi in the southern Italian region of Apulia. Both are typical of Puglia and I love these because you can only get them there. If I'm eating this pasta and drinking this wine, I'm in my favorite region of Italy. Viva Il Salento!" - Henrick Murphy


Here at Ciclismo, we know food. Check out our top 5 foodie experiences on our bike tours!

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