Eating Local in Italy

Eating Local in Italy

Sep 26

Our focus is and always will be the Central Florida area, but we recently experienced an incredible two weeks in Italy, where we saw a lot of art and ate a lot of food.

In a sense, we were poor stewards of our own message, eating with respect for food, because we were not diligent at all about investigating where the food we were eating originated. The majority of restaurants in the three cities we visited — Venice, Florence and Rome — are independently-owned, not part of a chain or franchise, so it’s difficult to research their sources online. And, because of the constant language barrier, it’s not easy to ask in person.

On the other hand, we didn’t stray from our “eat less meat” philosophy. Despite warnings and concerns, we really had no trouble maintaining our mostly vegetarian diet. The tomatoes — and we ate a LOT of tomatoes — were almost always tastier and fresher than what’s available here. The mozzarella cheese had a sublime texture that spoke of love and handwork in the kitchen. The pasta was usually soft and yellow, clearly made in house. On the whole, food didn’t feel or taste as processed, no matter where we went in Italy.

Sign at Osteria La Solita Zuppa

Entrance to Osteria La Solita Zuppa

One of our stops in Italy was in a small Tuscan town called Chiusi. Our Roman friends told us that, being foodies and conscious of where our food comes from, we would definitely want to experience. Italians from all around drive very far just to eat at this restaurant, Osteria La Solita Zuppa (Daily Soup). The ingredients are all hyper-local, and the menu is dictated orally, never written down, for it changes every night. On the walls hang numerous awards from Slow Foods International, praising the restaurant’s adherence to the very guidelines we struggle to meet every day in Central Florida. The four-course meal was delicious and satisfying, better than any I’ve had to date.

Now that we’re home, we’ll be searching harder than ever to find all things local and sustainable in the food world. It’s good to be back!

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