As the saying goes, Italians live to eat, not eat to live. The Chiappa sisters – Michela, Emanuela and Romina – are no exception. Their shared passion for great Italian food has always been fundamental to their upbringing and binds them as a family. Theirs is food to be enjoyed; food to relax with. In their trademark breezy, laidback style, they share their knowledge of the best of Italian cookery on TV and now in their book, Simply Italian.
Soaking up, and sharing, Italian culture is one of the Chiappa family’s great pleasures, and discovering wonderful bars and restaurants is always top of their travel To Do list. Here, they share their favourite Italian foodie destinations: a spectacular seaside restaurant, a cosy rural trattoria and a sophisticated city bar.
Michela, Emi and Romina Chiappa
If there’s one thing Italians know well and do pretty well at too, it’s food. No matter what city, county, or even small village you’re at, Italians take pride in their food. And so when people ask us what are our foodie favourites in Italy, it’s always tricky, as no matter where you stop you should find you’ll be served a decent meal. However, here are our top recommendations if you ever do find yourself nearby.
For me it has to be one of the seafront restaurants in the Cinque Terre. I have such fond memories of summers when all the family would drive a couple of hours from our home in the mountains to the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre are five tiny villages nestled within the coastal cliffs of the Western coast of Italy. Cars struggle to reach the villages but one train connects all five, as does the Via Dell’Amore which is the “Path of Love” (a coastal walking path). It’s an area of breathtaking beauty and there is nothing better than dining in one of the clifftop restaurants, eating a plate of fresh seafood and Pasta alle Vongole whilst you listen to the sounds of the seashore and smell the salty sea air. One of our favourites is the Ristorante Belforte in the town of Vernazza http://www.ristorantebelforte.it/
My suggestion is definitely off the beaten track but one of our local favorites which we all insist we eat at when in Italy – La Locanda Cacciatori, Piacenza. It serves traditional trattoria dishes like tortelli and fresh shaved porcini mushrooms picked from the local mountains when in season. It is so renowned with the locals that the Milanese football team often make the journey just to eat here. Make sure you turn up with a very empty stomach as the courses keep coming, but it remains fantastic value. They have no written menu but this is part of the charm, the waiters choose for you. Trust us, you will not be disappointed. www.locandacacciatori.com
As a person who loves to socialise and certainly enjoys a drink, I’d have to say if you ever find yourself in Milan between the hours of 4-7, then find a local bar and stop for an apperitivo. Milan is renowned for its apperitivi. You may find you pay approximately €10 for an alcoholic drink or cocktail. However, with that you have access to endless nibbles either in the form of a buffet or brought to your table. One of our favourite places is Roi Alto. http://www.roialtogroup.it
Simply Italian by Michela, Emanuela and Romina Chiappa is out now.