Street food is nothing new in Italy. Every region, heck, every town, has its own sidewalk specialty that nonni and bis-nonni have talked about for decades, if not centuries. Fried pizza, spicy snails, stomach sandwiches, roasted lamb, street food is as varied and geo-specific as local dialects-- clever, delicious, confounding and yep, a source of pride to those who make it as well as eat it.
In my mind and belly, the regions and towns of Italy can only be catalogued by street food, football and art, of course. Hot Palermo is always a nighttime adventure of nocturnal barbecues while I seek out Manfredi Beninati and Jenny Saville, and quiet Siracusa, with its amazing antiquities, has best arancina of my life. Torino, home to my favorite team Juventus, makes a just as perfect farinata. Abruzzo boasts the unforgettable arosticini. But I am curious- are Modena's tigelle are better than Rimini's piadine? And can anyone tell me which is better in Napoli - pizza fritta or pizza al portofoglio?
Finally and just last week, someone had the courage to put to print the very first guide to Italian street food-- Il Gambero Rosso. The Italian food/wine media giant has taste tested and collected street food from the nooks and crannies of every region to create its Street Food guide, that not only details street food and particular vendors, but also the seasonal characteristics of street food. Lucky me, I was able to taste test the guide book at Gambero Rosso's Street Food celebration. Presently, Street Food is only available in print (Italian language), but I am hoping that it will be developed into a multi-language app-- with a little merchandising. Who wouldn't love a bumper stickers that read "I break for panelle", or t-shirt with "gnocco fritto" in baby blue bubble letters?
— Erica Firpo (@Moscerina) July 5, 2013