For the last five and a half years I’ve written a blog post every Monday with very very few exceptions. Sometimes I’m really proud of a post, others I know its not my best. Sometimes I’m on top of things and have everything done ahead of time, others I don’t even get it published until Monday evening (but hey, at least it’s the same day!)
Because the truth is, I keep this blog for me. I write because I like to. I write about Italy because I love it. Each post is something that personally interests me. Any research I do is because I love finding out more about my adopted country.
I’ve never tried to market the blog and I definitely haven’t monetized it because it’s my hobby, not my job.
Still, I put a lot of work into it and plan on trying to grow its reach.
But there’s one thing I never do.
I don’t give restaurant recommendations online.
And I never will.
1) There are already dozens of resources to find excellent eateries that are much more knowledgeable than me.
There is no shortage of restaurant guides in the world. Visitors who want to find a great restaurant literally have hundreds of options of books, websites and tools to help them. I use those same tools when I’m traveling throughout Italy, along with my instincts honed from a lot of travel and recommendations from friends when I can get them. I couldn’t possibly pretend to be more knowledgeable than the vast information that is already out there.
2) I don’t eat out that much.
I only write about what I know or have experienced on the blog, which means to give a recommendation I need to try the place first. And not just one plate, but multiple. This becomes a bit pricey. Giving regular restaurant recommendations means regularly trying new places and I don’t have the time or money to do that for myself, let alone the online world. Italy is not my “home base” on a nomadic life. It’s not my extended vacation. Italy is my home. I live and work here, which means I mostly cook at home!
3) I’m more interested in what to eat than where.
My goal when writing about food and Italy is to educate readers on what kind of food they should look for in what region. See, Italian food is good. Like, really good. It’s hard to get a truly terrible meal. You can, however, get a wrong meal. The best way to avoid that is to know what to eat where. Because the truth is, there’s no such thing as an overall Italian cuisine. Italian food is made up of 20 different regional cuisines with just a few ties that unite them. So when in Liguria, eat Ligurian food. When in Rome, eat Roman food and when in Sicily, study even more because there the food specialities are broken down by city.
If you know what to look for: the local food, the local recipes and what’s in season in Italy, then you don’t need to have specific recommendations to find an excellent meal. Read the menus outside the restaurants and make a conscious choice of where to eat based on what they offer. With a little bit of background on Italian food culture, you’re much more likely to have an enjoyable and delicious meal and avoid that other tourist slop. And I’d be happy to help!
If I really enjoyed a meal I’m happy to pass the restaurant’s name along to friends and family and I’m especially happy to hear recommendations from people I know and trust before my trips! But that’s as far as I’ll go.
Because I’m not a food critic, just a fool in love with food.
Want to know what to eat? Read on:
The Food of Sicily, Italy’s Most Unique Cuisine
The World-Class Food of Emilia Romagna
The Geographical Food of Veneto
The Food of Valtellina
The Mixed-Cultured Food of Friuli Venezia Giulia
What to Eat in Liguria
My Favorite Foods in Tuscany and Umbria