29 | Jul | 17

Richard Johnson

Know Your Chicken

There’s a great saying in the Italian language. ‘Conosco i milei polli’, it goes. ‘I know my chicken’. Only to be used when, in whatever the situation, you really know your stuff.

It makes sense then that the Italian’s ‘chicken’ is food. When we’re talking about Europe – if not, the world – their culinary heritage is easily up there with France. Few others put so much heart and soul into their food.

And it certainly shows on the streets. That old Neapolitan peasant’s flatbread – the pizza – is on almost every high-street in the Western world. People will always be trying to refine the concept of the pizza. But no one will beat the Italians. Not at their own game.

Want to eat for cheap in Rome? Go hunt for a twist on the theme – pizza e mortazza. A sandwich made with flatbread and sliced fatty sausage. The aptly named Pizza & Mortazza, and their little cartoon pig-pink truck, is a good place to start.

What about ravioli? Often seen in tableclothed restaurants, and on paper plates from the back of a van, where does it truly belong? The answer, perhaps, is actually the family dining table. Though Zibo cuochi iteranti’s parcels of heaven put up a tough case otherwise, as do those of DanSi Rinascimanto Culinario.

And then, to round it off, there’s what is probably the most consumed street food in the country – gelato. Oh, the gelato! Richer and denser and more flavourful than other ices, it’s the top trump card everyone wants. You ever see a Carapina or Cool Gelateria Naturale truck out and about, don’t hesitate.

Of course, we’re just scratching the surface here. When talking about Italian food, you have to ask yourself how much time you’ve got. So let’s cut to it – a setup which REALLY knows its chicken. Meet Porcobrado, the winners of the Italian Street Food Awards at STREEAT’s food truck festival in Carroponte. As the creators of one of the world’s most exquisite sandwiches, we’re a bit wary of Porcobrado – could they walk away with the European Street Food Awards in Berlin?

 

Hugh Thomas