6 places in Australia where you will find only authentic Italian food

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I’m no food expert, but I get really disappointed when I walk out of an "Italian" restaurant with my plate still full and my belly ... half empty. It is such a shame to see the word Italian flashing in big letters above the entrance of an enticing eatery, when it is clear that no one (owner, chef, staff, ...) has ever set foot in Italy to learn the art of authentic Italian cooking. I wonder if they have ever seen white butter or white mozzarella, ever tasted creamless gelato or fresh ‘passata di pomodoro’.

Rather than jumping on the chef’s throat screaming: “ma che roba e` questa?!?” (what the heck is this?), I think I prefer scouring the area looking for the real Italian stuff!

Many of these hidden treasures are something you might have discovered by chance or because a friend told you. Either way, please share with us where they are. PLEASE!

Here are 4 fantastic places in Australia, that I highly recommend for an experience totally Italian.

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Lillino's (Rothbury) - situated in the Hunter Valley, the owner Luigi is a pro at his beloved Sardinian cuisine. If you catch him in his artistic mood, he will sing for you, too! No mic and no instruments. Only pure Italian passion running through his voice, as well as his dishes. Lots of fun! One sunny day, he promptly set our table outside, you know with the traditional red and white checkered table cloth … it felt like home. Grazie, Luigi. You don’t want to leave this mesmerising place.

Napoli Centrale (Newcastle) - pizza, pizza, pizza out of a real Neapolitan oven. What more would you want in life? Just the other day I have noticed that they have opened an extra room - taking over Newcastle, boys? I could not recommend this place enough. Every time I’m in Newcastle the word is “Napoli Centrale”. Pizza alla diavola, devil's pizza, with hot salame is to die for (it will make you scoff at the so called ‘peperoni pizza’). I have yet to try their authentic Italian pastas, meat dishes and desserts - I somehow always seem to fall for pizza.

For the sweet lovers, here is what I recommend for an authentic and indulgent Italian experience.

Cavalicious (Gladesville) - A friend posted a picture of their cannoli siciliani on Facebook and I cannot get them out of my mind. Perfection. Next time I’m in Sydney, I have to have one of those ricotta filled lovers. You only need to look at their photos to know this is seriously delicious Italian.

Pasticceria Papa (Haberfield) - I have tasted pasticcini from this amazing shop and made a video too- you can really taste the Italian flavour in their creams and pastry. When you walk in the shop, though, you might become speechless: it is hard to choose which way to look or decide what to eat first. They now have three shops all over Sydney, yey! Highly recommended if you want to travel to Italy ... by food.

If you want to cook your own Italian food, you might be wondering “Well, where do I buy authentic Italian ingredients outside Italy?"

Yes, outside Italy you can’t always find the right ingredients for authentic Italian food … straight away. You just have to look and ask and look and ask. Until you find places like this:

Pina Deli (Newcastle) - Salame, prosciutto, mozzarella, pasta fresca, formaggio … all the ingredients you need are here. Follow Pina Deli on Facebook to find out the specialty of the day. Thank you, Pina Deli, for being my Italy in Newcastle!

Mercato e Cucina (Gladesville) - A supermarket, delicatessen, patisserie and restaurant filled with authentic Italian produce. And if their food doesn’t amaze you enough, try their Staff in one of their cool online videos.

Places like these really get it and they are at your service!

A good clue for an authentic Italian experience is to check if the owner speaks Italian. Then, you’re in for a treat. They will not only feed you with the yummiest goddess, but they will also be a good excuse for practicing your Italian. I have consistently experienced that all Italian shop owners are very happy to speak Italian with you. Perhaps leave the grammar textbook home.

I don’t receive a commission from any of the places and businesses I have mentioned in this post. I am simply an advocate for authentic Italian food, because these people who stand for authenticity are to be applauded - plus they’ll fill your tummy, just like mamma.

Buon appetito!

Elisabetta

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