Choose to sail Italy and you’re in for a culinary treat. Whether you choose to discover Naples, Sicily, Sardinia or Venice, get ready to taste some truly delicious dishes, while discovering ancient buildings, winding streets and charming canals.
There’s much more to Italy than just lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese and tiramisu. The rich, fertile soils and sea in the Bay of Naples and Sardinia mean this region lovingly cultivates seafood, meat, cheese, bread, pastries, olives, liqueurs and wines. Food production is usually in small batches and the ingredients are freshly harvested and of the highest quality.
In celebration of Italian cuisine, we’ve put together a yacht charter food trail from the Bay of Naples, so you can discover some of the best Neapolitan cuisine – and other Italian dishes – during your vacation!
Pizza was invented in Naples, so it would be wrong not to try it in its city of origin! Italians often judge a pizzeria based on its classic Margherita, which typically features the Italian tricolor of red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil.
The Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita Teresa Giovanni, following her visit to Naples in 1889. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in the city was the first pizzeria opened in 1830 and is still serving pizzas to this very day.
Other pizza-related traditional Napoli dishes include calzoni, stuffed with a variety of fillings and panzerotti, which are incredibly delicious deep-fried mozzarella pockets.
Naples is a place that will leave seafood lovers rejoicing, as it is a feature in so many of its classic dishes
One traditional Napoli dish you need to try is spaghetti alle vongole. Translating to ‘spaghetti with clams’, it includes crushed pepper flakes, white wine, garlic and parsley.
You should also sample risotto alla pescatora, with clams, scallops, mussels and squid; or spaghetti alla puttanesca, consisting of capers, pepper, garlic, parsley and olives. Delicious!
Pasta represents some of the best food in Naples – although a word of warning, they’re all big on carbs!
Start off by sampling some pasta and potato soup, delicious seasoned with garlic, herbs and black pepper. Next, move onto timballo. Also known as ‘pasta pie’, these can contain a variety of fillings, usually combing meat, cheese, vegetables or fish.
If you still have space, order the gnocchi alla sorrentina, which are potato dumplings topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It may be simple, but you can’t deny it’s delicious!
There’s always room for dessert, which is just as well when you’re in Naples, because they make seriously good sweet treats.
Try babà, a small sponge cake soaked in either rum or limoncello, and topped with custard, cream and seasonal fruit.
Or, you could sample one of our favorite Napoli dishes, Sfogliatella. A traditional pastry, it’s filled to the brim with ricotta, spices and candied peels.
There are two types of sfogliatella: ‘riccia’, which means curly, or ‘frolla’. The curly sfogliatella is more elaborately decorated, whereas the frolla is made from shortcrust dough.
Other traditional Italian dishes you need to try
Whether you sail to different Italian regions during your charter vacation, or you immerse yourself fully in Naples’ culture, make sure you try some traditional dishes from other Italian regions too. Here are just a few we suggest:
Capri’s colorful palette
Within easy reach of Naples, Capri offers a host of tasty treats including the tricolor appetizer, caprese salad or “salad of Capri” with fresh basil leaves, tomato and mozzarella and fine olive oil.
You should also make sure you try the cheese-stuffed totano squid fried with garlic and tomato or ravioli alla caprese. This traditional favorite has light pasta envelopes filled with parmigiano and marjoram served with tomato and basil sauce. After dinner try the chocolate and almond cake, torta caprese.
Sorrento’s citrus tang
Pop across the bay and take a break from Neapolitan cuisine, to the original home of limoncello, a liqueur blended from an infusion of lemon rind, alcohol, water and sugar. Lemon groves are common in Italy today, but the lemons in Sorrento have a particular flavor that makes this particular blend of limoncello world-renowned.
The gelato is also delicious, as is the lemon cake and nocillo nut liqueur.
Minori’s historic handmade pasta
Head along the Salerno Gulf to the wonderful Amalfi coast. At Minori you’ll discover its heritage of handmade pasta, where it was once the beating heart of pasta production for the region, with the mills stretching for miles. The town is known for its ndunderi, fusilli and scialatielli and you can still buy tasty handmade pasta today.
Don’t forget to try the salted anchovies, which are a local delicacy. If you’re planning a bareboat charter in the Bay of Naples, you might want to coincide with Minori’s annual food festival, GustaMinori.
Sardinia’s roasted pork
Meat lovers will want to sample su porceddu in Sardinia, a succulent, grilled suckling pig that is slow spit-roasted and served on a cork tray and covered myrtle branches.
Taste other fabulous local dishes, such as pane carasau flatbread, sea urchin spaghetti, clam soup, Alghero lobster and malloreddus pasta made from semolina and saffron.
Finish up with mirto, a myrtle berry liqueur, and honey pastries called seadas, a fritter filled with Sardinian pecorino cheese. You can also sail over to the nearby Maddalena islands for more delicious dishes, including dried mullet roe, or “bottarga”.
With so many delicious traditional Naples food to try, we don’t blame you if you’re ready to book your Italian vacation! If you’d like to find out more about our bareboat or skippered charters, get in touch with us today. Alternatively, for more vacation inspiration, head on over to our blog.