Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Italy's Street Food: Porchetta

Italy is not a street food sort of culture. Here, meals are strictly sit-down affairs, with families gathering around the table twice a day to enjoy long, multiple-course lunches and dinners steeped in local culinary history and culture.

There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule. Gelato and granita are, of course, the most glaring, as Italians have no qualms about meandering down the corso for the evening passeggiata with towering cones or cups in hand.

To a lesser extent, pizza, especially pizza fritta in southern Italy, and focaccia (in Liguria), arancini (fried balls filled with rice,ground meat, and tomato) in Sicily, and piadine (a tortilla-type flat bread served with cold cuts or cheese) in Emilia-Romagna can all be spotted on the city streets.

porchetta-umbria-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

In central Italy, however (especially Tuscany and Umbria), the king of all street food is porchetta.

This is a whole pig, boned, then rolled back up into a pig-ish sort of shape (with head and tail still attached) with a pungent mix of rosemary, fennel, garlic, salt, and pepper and slowly roasted in a wood burning oven until the meat is perfectly moist and the skin turned to crisp crackling. The porchetta is then sliced and served on a crusty roll for a towering savory sandwich.

porchetta-bevagna-umbria-italy-cr-dj-porchetta(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

porchetta-bevagna-umbria-italy-cr-dj-porchetta(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Porchetta is primarily sold from traveling porchettai (like Marco of the DJ Porchetta truck in Bevagna, Umbria), who hawk their panini from white trucks parked in piazzas during the weekly market. Local butchers also carry it on certain days, and usually hang a sign out front to let their customers know when they have it available.

porchetta-bevagna-umbria-italy-cr-dj-porchetta(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

You can also purchase it by weight, taking your thick slices home to gobble up with a fork and knife. But we think that porchetta is tastiest eaten al volo, in a sandwich, on the street, just ask them to “hold the liver” (senza fegato).

porchetta-bevagna-umbria-italy-cr-dj-porchetta
(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)



Contributor: Rebecca Winke

Concierge in Umbria | Contact Us
Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist: Italy