Italians eat panini with every filling, in every occasion, with any excuse. And, news flash, panini is plural (so two panini) but just one of them is called panino. Sorry to break it to you – but at least now you know how to order one at your beach bar. The best panini however are those made by everyone’s mamma – and the options are many: ham and fontina cheese, mortadella, salami… My favourites are the Panino con la Nutella – every kid’s favourite mid-afternoon snack – and the panino with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
Summer is way too hot for a ragù on the beach, but Italians still love their pasta. So what to do? Make it cold. Cold pasta salads (or pasta fredda) can be made with all the best fresh ingredients: olives, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, zucchini, pesto… Take your pick and dig in.
Insalata di Riso
The traditional summer meal for the beach or a big family dinner, rice salad (insalata di riso) is similar to a pasta salad, but it’s made with white rice and it generally includes eggs, tuna, mayonnaise and wurstel.
Only for real Sardinians: sea urchins
This not-for-the-faint-hearted alternative is my dad’s favourite past-time on the beach: finding sea urchins near the rocks, cracking them open and either eating their eggs there and then or saving them up for sea urchin pasta. A great show, if you have the guts.
Only at Ferragosto: Italian barbecue
On the night of August 14th, chances are you’ll be sleeping on a beach for Ferragosto, Italy’s religious summer bank holiday. For the occasion, Italians roast meat on the beach – wether with a proper barbecue or straight on the fire.
And after all that: pausa caffé
Whether you’re on a beach or in town, there’s always time for a coffee break in Italy. We don’t do flat whites, but we do make a mean cappuccino or a great, less-caffeinated version of espresso: gingseng coffee. Nothing else can help you survive the heat like that!
Pictures: Carolina Are, LeiTV, Newsly.it, Puntellarossa