Spaghetti ai ricci di mare, Sicily
There’s nothing quite like the taste of ricci di mare – sea urchins – once they’ve been freed from their spiky shells.
Down in the toe of the Italian boot, Calabria produces some of the country’s spiciest food – and few are quite as piquant as nduja.
While Parma ham gets all the attention, there’s another ham that some say tastes even better. Culatello, made from pigs’ haunches, is cured in just eight villages in the Pianura Padana, the low plains of the Po Valley in Emilia-Romagna.
Frittura di cervello, Rome
Fried brains doesn’t sound nearly as alluring as frittura di cervello, but the delicate flavour of this typically Roman dish makes up for any off-putting associations.
Finanziera certainly doesn’t let much go to waste. This northern Italian speciality is a dish of chicken and pork livers, calf and pork giblets, brains, kidneys and – as a crowning touch – chickens’ cockscombs.
This Roman dish was banned from Italy for 14 years thanks to mad cow disease, but it’s firmly back on the menu. That might not be good news to people who find the thought of milk-filled calves’ intestines less than appealing…
Pani ca meusa, Sicily
If you really want to feel like a local in Palermo, you have to try its street food. Pani ca meusa sounds rather lovely in Sicilian – “bread with spleen”.
Casu marzu, Sardinia
Sanguinaccio dolce, Naples
Blood and chocolate make unusual partners in this dessert. Sanguinaccio dolce is found in regions of Italy, including Naples, where it’s a special treat during Carnival.
Forget about how tripe usually looks and generally tastes and try this traditional Florentine snack, which is served from street carts.