3 Places to Visit in Italy for an Authentic Food Tour

Hills in Umbria

German cars, Cuban cigars, Italian food - to get the best, you often must go straight to the source. You may already know that we at Tasty Ribbon import fine goods straight from Italy for our gift boxes, many of which are not otherwise available outside of the country. From award-winning pastas to savory snacks to thoughtful teas, our gifts are truly one-of-a-kind. We don’t just deliver the best - we deliver the best of the best. We are a company owned and operated by Italianos, and we import our products from artisans known for the Italian delicacies in their regions. For instance, Umbria in Central Italy is known for its truffles. Puglia in Southern Italy makes the finest olive oil, and Lombardy in the north put the panettone cake on the map.

We know that there is nothing like seeing first-hand craftsmanship to appreciate the quality of Italian specialty cuisine. In this guide, Tasty Ribbon’s owner and Italian food connoisseur Giulia Scargetta tells you where to visit in Italy for an authentic food tour. If you’re looking for travel ideas, she highly suggests sightseeing and food sampling in these 3 Italian destinations:

UMBRIA

Where it’s located: Umbria is a rural region of mountains, hills, valleys, and small towns in Central Italy. It is often called the “green heart” of Italy due to its landscape.

What it’s known for: Considered a special rarity in most American dishes, truffles make a frequent appearance in meals in Umbria. Truffles grow in abundance there, more so than any other place in Italy, and many residents are associated with truffle hunting. 

Terrific Truffles: The people of Umbria (and their dogs!) have been “hunting” truffles year-round for centuries. Both black and white truffles can be found near a tree’s roots, where, scientifically, they rely on the carbohydrates of the tree to grow.

Tasty Ribbon’s Connection: We at Tasty Ribbon love to put truffles on eggs, pasta dishes, meats, and sometimes even as a condiment (truffle fries, anyone?). However, many truffle products found in American supermarkets are not true varieties and are filled with artificial flavors and scents. That’s why Tasty Ribbon carefully sources the truffles in our gift boxes from renowned artisans in the region:

Tartufi Bianconi is run by a couple, Mr & Mrs. Bianconi, and their four dream team” dogs. They use only natural ingredients that impress even the most refined Italian palates.

San Pietro a Pettine is a family-owned producer whose bespoke products have been honed through generations. You can be confident that when you include their truffle products in your gift box, your recipient (or yourself!) will enjoy the results of years of refinement and quality control.

Our Recommendations: You don’t need to be born into a truffle hunting family to get the full Umbrian tradition; many tours, like the ones offered by Tartufi Bianconi, offer tourists a slice of the experience. Spend the day on a guided journey digging up truffles in the summer (a great educational activity for the kids). The best part is that you will end the day with a traditional Italian meal made with the truffles you’ve collected! In the wintertime, arrange for a truffle tasting to enjoy a decadent afternoon and quickly become a truffle connoisseur.

We encourage you to dine at artisan's restaurants, like San Pietro a Pettine’s, for the full genuine experience. Another world class Tasty Ribbon artisan is I Potti de Fratini, a family olive oil mill in the heart of Umbria. They organize olive oil tastings and picnics that are not to be missed!

PUGLIA

Where it’s located: Puglia stretches along the coastline in Southern Italy (the heel of the “boot”) and is full of rich soil ideal for agriculture.

What it’s known for: 40% of Italy’s world-renowned olive oil comes from this region, and there's a good reason why: there are over 50 million olive trees growing in the land’s mineral-rich soil.

All About Olive Oil: We at Tasty Ribbon know that high quality olive oil is essential to good cooking, which is why we offer two monovarietal olive oils on our website: Simone Olive Oil from Frantoio D’Orazio and Ta Té and Ta Lia from I Potti de Fratini. Some technical trivia: Monocultivar oil is completely made of just one type of olive. This contrasts with olive oil “blends,” which mix different monovarietal oils. Blends tend to have a softer texture and flavor, while monocultivar olive oils have specific flavor to their region.

Tasty Ribbon’s Connection: Of the thousands of olive companies in Puglia, Tasty Ribbon has carefully selected Frantoio D’orazio for their tradition of olive oils with character and their Instagram-worthy designs. The designs on the bottles reflect the character of the oil and the region - look at designs on these bottles that mimic floor tiles in Puglia.

Our Recommendation: A warm landscape gives Puglia’s olives a unique flavor, so definitely take a tour of an olive vineyard and arrange for a tasting.

LOMBARDY

Where it’s located: Lombardy is in Northwestern Italy and contains the fashionable city of Milan and upscale Lake Como resort.

What it’s known for: Milan is known as a beacon of culture, architecture, food, and style. From the historic neoclassical architecture to ‘The Last Supper’ to Milan Fashion Week, this chic city put the region on the map. The city and region are also known for their distinct cuisine, with rich dishes like risotto alla milanese (saffron risotto), cotoletta alla milanese (breaded veal cutlet), and, of course, panettone cake.

Perfect Panettone Cake: Panettone is always a hit at Christmastime but can be enjoyed year-round. Dating back to the Middle Ages, panettone was created as a sweet alternative to everyday bread to celebrate Christmas. It is made with soft, fluffy dough and filled with candied fruits, dried fruits, and raisins to create a delightful texture and aroma! It’s sweet but not too sugary, so you can add yummy spreads on it to compliment the flavor. We especially recommend adding mascarpone cream and pistachio spread.

Tasty Ribbon’s Connection: T’a Milano has won multiple awards for their sweet treats, including the International Chocolate Awards and the Agrifood Club. A family business since the early 20th century, T’a Milano is now run by brothers Tancredi and Alberto Alemagna who uphold the traditions of fine Italian delicacies.

Our Recommendation: If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the Lombardy region, you must try panettone from a local bakery. Making it properly requires a complicated three-day process, so be sure to appreciate the work that goes into it. It’s also worth investigating the panettone festivals - you read that correctly - there are entire festivals centered around tasting different panettone cakes!

Pro-tip: Read about all of our select artisans here by clicking on the various regions - we have the whole map covered!

Of course, an international vacation may not be in the cards right now. If you can’t travel to take in the food, Tasty Ribbon will bring the delicacies to you! With a wide selection of fine imported products, Tasty Ribbon is a one-stop-shop for all the best, specialty-curated goods safely delivered in an elegantly wrapped gift box. And, if you do manage to take that coveted trip throughout Italy, you’ll probably be owing your friends, family, and colleagues some savory souvenirs. Don’t worry about overpacking your suitcase, though! Order your loved ones a gift box from Tasty Ribbon so they can share in the experience all of the Italian classics right from their doorstep. In addition to the goods we have discussed in this article, we also offer teas, coffee, pastas, pasta sauces, chocolates, condiments, snacks, candies, jams, and more. You can create your own box and mix and match up to 15 of your favorite products (if you need some ideas, check out our post on how to build your own gift box). Alternatively, you can choose a gift box that Tasty Ribbon has pre-curated, with options for every budget. Corporate clients can benefit from our custom curations for client gifts, event goodies, or employee appreciation presents.

Whether truffles from Umbria, olive oil from Puglia, or panettone cake from Lombardy, gift boxes from Tasty Ribbon allow you or your recipient to take a tasting journey through the best that Italy has to offer, right from your home.