Home Food When in Rome

When in Rome

Kate's best tips for eating abroad



10686827_10105636162681689_4713204150477917685_nBuongiorno! Alex and I are back from a wonderful two weeks in Italy where we walked and ate our way through the country. In anticipation of writing this blog, I tried to think of my favorite food-related experience of the trip to share with you. Was our best time when we were eating a paper cone filled with fresh, lightly fried seafood after a hike on the Cinque Terre trail? Or what about the cooking class in Rome where we made pasta next to couples from Israel and Canada? But how can I not mention the most airy, delicious gnocchi in a mushroom cream sauce at the central market in Florence?

As you can see, I really cannot choose just one experience. They were all unique and so incredibly tasty. What I can provide are some tips on how to enjoy the best food your destination has to offer.

  1. Eat what they do best. Each region has their speciality, so make sure to go for that and lots of it. This mentality had us enjoying the freshest pesto in Monterosso, anchovies in Vernazza, Chianti in Tuscany, steak in Florence and artichokes in Rome.
  2. Consult the internet, but not too much. I’m a planner, so I did some “research” on the the web beforehand but waited to make reservations until we were in each city. This allowed me to incorporate our hosts’ suggestions and to see places before deciding where to dine.
  3. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Italians eat dinner much, much later than we typically do at home. When we went to a restaurant at 7 or even 8 o’clock, we dined with maybe another party or two. But when we were finished at 9pm or later? It was packed. We found we had a more enjoyable time when we did as many Italians do – had an aperitivo in the early evening and then a later dinner.
  4. Most importantly, enjoy, you’re on vacation!


Kate Sayre is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients through her private practice and works in the Department of Nutrition at UNC. On the 1st and 15th of every month, she guest blogs here.