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Six Italian Snacks
Discover some delicious bites that will tide you over until the next meal
by Francesca Di Meglio
Italians are not big on snacking. They usually eat big meals at lunch and a light dinner and little in between. Occasionally, they might pick up a piece of fruit between meals or indulge in a gelato in the summertime. Maybe they'll meet up with friends for espresso before returning to work after the siesta. And once in a while, they might have cocktails, known as aperitivi, with some antipasto. Still, there are some Italian-style snacks that you might like to incorporate into your diet – or at least have as a treat once in a while. Here are a few of my favorites:
Some sliced tomato, chopped garlic and basil, and fresh mozzarella topped with extra-virgin olive oil and salt is so simple but so tasty. You can eat it on its own or with a chunk of Italian bread.
Pizzette are bite-sized pizzas. These are often served at kid's birthday parties, so they are usually topped with the basic Margherita pizza ingredients, which are tomato sauce, basil, and fresh mozzarella. But adult versions can include any topping you can imagine. I've made them with fresh tomatoes. After cooking the pizzette, I top it with arugula and prosciutto.
Although I'm not a big fan of olives, lots of people love Italian olives. Even my one-year-old niece is wild for them. There are a variety of olives from which you can choose. And you can easily pair them with cheese and wines, which can pump up the snack.
Macedonia is Italian fruit salad. It is easy to make. You cut up your freshest fruit – preferably whatever is in season – and top it with some sugar and lemon juice or even a little bit of orange juice, stir it, and let it sit in the fridge for a bit. You could top it with some mint if you'd like. The cold, sweetened fruit is really refreshing on a hot day.
Nutella and Bread
Nutella is sold just about everywhere nowadays. The hazelnut spread is like the Italian version of peanut butter. And just like peanut butter, you can spread it on bread – from wheat to white to Italian – and eat up. It's a quick snack that is most satisfying. You can also dip fruit, such as strawberries or banana, in Nutella.
Prosciutto and Figs
You probably have had prosciutto wrapped around cantaloupe or another type of melon. Lately, however, Italians have been pairing prosciutto with figs. My husband's family opens the fig, so that it looks like a flower and then drapes the prosciutto over it. It's another quick and easy snack to make that is quite fulfilling and leaves a delicious, sweet and salty taste in your mouth.
Di Meglio is the Guide to Newlyweds for About.com, and you can follow her work and life at the Two Worlds Web site.
Article Published 9/5/2011
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