“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.” – Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

Food is a beautiful thing. If you’re anything like me, you may be thinking right now about what your next meal is going to be even if you’ve just finished your last. Traveling is truly a foodie’s dream come true and getting to experience a culture based on their local delicacies is one of the most fun and exciting ways to do it. For the weeks that led up to my departure for Rome, my nerves would get the best of me on occasion. I was always able to reassure myself, however, given that even if I didn’t make a single friend abroad, at least the food would make up for it.

When I traveled with Travel For Teens, İ’ll never forget the Argentinian steaks we had at our final dinner or the time we went back twice in one day for lunch at a kebab place in Granada. TFT travelers reap the benefits as they often get to eat where the locals go or at a little gem off the beaten path, thanks to our seasoned staff all over the world and a long history of running these trips that makes us experts. We are serious about “teaching teens to be travelers and not tourists,” therefore one can always expect the most authentic meals and restaurants to be part of a culturally packed TFT itinerary.

Eating Well in Italy

I think that the best part about Italy is that eating a meal is a sacred event. They take their time, they enjoy every bit, and they would let you sit there all night if you never asked for the check. Italians don’t eat as much and as fast as possible or frequent all-you-can-eat buffets like we tend to do here in the States. They appreciate the hard work and time that went in to preparing a (delicious) meal and they value food enough to only produce the freshest ingredients. They also take the time during a meal to laugh and talk with friends and family, which is something I am starting to really cherish here in Italy. Last night my friends and I sat at the trattoria for over two hours, telling stories and reminiscing on the old days, something that we wouldn’t be able to do back in the States when we are always in a hurry.

trattoria da teo

Last night I tried a restaurant that was recommended to me by a friend. I called the small family owned trattoria and after “parli inglese?”… made a reservation. As soon as I walked through the door, the husband and wife duo greeted me with a warm welcome and Cristina!!!” Evidently we still stick out as Americans (even though I got mistaken as an Italian the other day-assimilating already!) because I didn’t even have to say my name.Throughout the meal they treated me as an old friend and served what has definitely been the best meal thus far in Rome. In true Italian fashion they gave us a couple of desserts on the house, to which we responded with many “grazie” and a promise that we would return. If you are ever in the Trastevere neighborhood, Trattoria da Teo is a must!I still remember clearly some of the meals I’ve eaten when travelling abroad to different places. When I went to Spain with TFT in high school, I thought nothing would ever compare to the food in Italy. Our counselors proved me wrong by taking us to some of the best restaurants that İ may have never been able to fınd on my own.

It’s crazy to think that something as simple and essential to everyday life such as food can be vastly different from one place to the next. There are many exciting things to look forward to when going abroad, whether it’s food, art, sightseeing, adventure, language, or beyond. But what’s really fascinating is the fact that the lifestyle of a place can be depicted so uniquely by these things. Every region, country, city, and small town has something special to be discovered by people who visit them and if you fully immerse yourself in what they have to offer, you will be amazed by the reward. Who knew I could learn so much about a place from one simple yet REALLY “delizioso” meal?