The most wonderful time of the year certainly looks different in 2020. And with COVID cases soaring, Grinches everywhere are putting on their despair goggles and declaring Christmas canceled. For the peripatetic (word of the day!) like us, however, this Christmas is providing a brighter ray of hope than any other year in our lifetime. With a vaccine hitting the market soon, travel is back in sight. And while we may need to hunker down for a few more months, we have more reason than ever to return to planning and finding inspiration for our next trip abroad.
My travel inspiration this year is coming from my favorite Italian food influencers. During the Christmas season, I always get a culinary itch that lies dormant the rest of the year. So I am scratching that culinary itch by trying out Italian recipes straight from the Gram. Below are my favorite Instagram accounts that feature Italian food, recipes, fun facts, and all around eye candy.
Emiko Davies is an Australian expat who married a local sommelier, had beautiful Italian babies, lives in a picturesque home in the hills of Florence, and makes mouthwatering food all day. We’re sure she must have a flaw, but we have yet to find it. Emiko’s recipes are not only approachable, but are often accompanied by Italian language lessons (like the proper way to say bruschetta), interesting facts about food sourcing, and of course beautiful photos. I especially love Emiko’s baking recipes at this time of year. I’ll be trying her befani Tuscan Christmas cookies this season.
Sophie, half-American and half-Italian, was raised in Rome, shares a passion for food with her mother and fellow food grammer (Elizabeth Minchilli) and like many others on this list is an entrepreneur – turning Italian food into her livelihood. I love following Sophie for many reasons (her Italian quizzes, documentation of adorable nonni chatting in Italian, and a peek into a less-touristy side of Italy), however, it is her cooking demos that keep me hooked. Most importantly – Sophie does not pressure me to make my own pasta. Dry is fine!
Valentina is an Italian based in Amsterdam. She is a cook, author, and straight up delight. Valentina’s content is not only appetite-inducing, but always positive and often even inspiring. Her photos of food are interrupted by breathtaking shots of Italy – many from the van tour of the country Valentina and her partner took in 2019 as she conducted research for her next cookbook. Her recipes can be found in her story highlights.
Abbie, a Well Traveled consultant, makes me fantasize about Roman food on the daily. Abbie (an American expat living in Rome) turned her passion for Italian food and culture into a career when she joined Devour Tours (food tours of Rome – can you imagine a better job?). As a result, Abbie’s Instagram became a documentation of the daily interactions she has with the best restaurants, markets, and products Rome has to offer. Abbie’s account is not only a dream for those obsessed with Roman food, like myself, but an inspiring spot for recipes. She breaks down the formulas of some Italian staples – like how to make gnocchi, or a traditional amatriciana. Sometimes, we even get tips from her Roman mother-in-law!
Italy Food Project has been one of my favorite Instagram finds in the past 6 months. The account is hosted by Sarah, founder of qb Cucina. Sarah’s passion for Italian food prompted her move from America to Bologna (the bread basket of Italy) to study the craft of Italian cooking for 5 years. Now posting cooking lessons from her home back in America, I find myself inspired to know that I too can bring authentic Italian food into my home without the luxury of an olive grove in my back yard.
I hope this holiday season you enjoy your refreshed Instagram feed of mouthwatering Italian food and are even inspired to try out some of your own. Happy Holidays and here’s to dining together in Italy in 2021!