Naples is a dazzling food arena whose enticing flavors have tantalized visitors for millennia. The birthplace of pizza, Naples is bound not to disappoint even the most experienced of foodies. From sugared lemons to a classic margherita, Emmie Harrison-West explores the must-eat foodstuffs the waterfront city has to offer...
When life gives you lemons, in Naples they dip them in sugar. This local speciality adds a delicious brightness to Neapolitan tables. You can eat a Sorrento lemon with just a dusting of sugar, but make sure to try it in its most iconic form, limoncello, a zingy liqueur made with lemon zest and grappa. You’ll find the yellow nectar filling chocolates and pastries, or drunk ice-cold with a slice of citrus.
Naples is the creator of Italy’s most famous foodstuff. Here, the dish is seared at high temperatures to create a crispy crust, while retaining a pillowy middle. Whether it’s fried, folded to go, or eaten in a pavement cafe, the world’s best pizza can be found simply by strolling along Via dei Tribunali. For an authentic Neapolitan experience, sample a margherita or marinara - you won’t be disappointed.
It’s said that the average Italian visits a cafe-bar at least twice a day — once over breakfast, and again at lunch. Drinking coffee is an art form, and even more so in Naples. Most Italians drink while standing up at the bar since it’s cheaper, and in Naples it’s customary to drink a cup of water before your coffee.
The lanes of Naples are lined with unrivalled street food. Pop into a fried-food friggi-toria like Vomero or Fiorenzano for a cuoppo di pesce or terra (fish or vegetable cones) and moreish morsels of sciurilli (squash blossoms), eggplant, potato crocchè and cheesy arancini. Or eat your way down Tribunali and Toledo, the best streets for portable fried pizza fritta and folded pizza a portafoglio.
You can expect amazing seafood the length of the Amalfi Coast, flanked as it is by fish-filled seas. Hook up with Salboat Sorrento to try your hand at local fishing techniques, including night- time squid fishing, then cook your catch onboard following traditional recipes. Back on land, head to Il Miracolo dei Pesci in Posillipo, for plates of local favorite scialatielli ai frutti di mare, bursting with prawns, clams and sea truffles.
It’s not just savory foodstuffs that Naples have perfected — their indulgent pastries and cakes are also delectable. Sfogliatella are moreish, crisp pastry shells filled with sweetened ricotta, semolina and candied citrus peel. Rum Baba are small yeast cakes drenched in rum and filled with sweet cream. Zeppola are deep-fried dough balls laden with cream or custard, and a Torta Caprese is a walnut or almond flour chocolate cake.
Feeling inspired? Go behind the scenes with local cooks to learn about authentic Neapolitan cuisine and how to create it. Follow Culinary Backstreets on a walking tour, sampling local fare – from salted cod to traditional Neapolitan pastries – before trying your hand at whipping up a Neapolitan caponata salad. Outside the city, Casa Mele in Positano runs hands-on classes in time for lunch.
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