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Pizza, pasta and.. Toblerone? A genuine Italian experience

Italian food most popular, yet research reveals UK knows little about it. 31 per cent of UK holidaymakers confuse deep pan pizzas as an authentic slice of Italy. Toblerone one of the most popular edible souvenirs, regardless of holiday destination

Italian chefs prepare to give the British public a pizza their mind, as research released by Italian Country Cottages reveals as many as a third of British holidaymakers are currently mistaking deep pan pizzas as an authentic slice of Italy.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents in a poll of more than 1,000 people voted Italian as their favourite food, making it the most popular, yet it would seem the nation may be confusing their home-sprung favourites among the more authentic tastes of the overseas.

While pasta may sit in store cupboards nationwide as an essential mealtime staple, the latest research from the self-catering cottages and villas provider has revealed a cultural misunderstanding when it comes to genuine Italian fare.  One in six respondents believed dough balls to be a real Italian starter, while a majority 70 per cent couldn’t tell the difference between a genuine Italian ragu and the English interpretation ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’. In addition, 56 per cent didn’t think that the classic risotto was an Italian dish.

Interestingly, when cooking at home, 90 per cent of us choose to eat fresh ingredients but on holiday, where often local produce is cheaper and more widespread, the figure reduces to just 18 per cent.

Suzanne Greenwood at Italian Country Cottages said: “As a nation we undoubtedly love our food. Our research found that enjoying the local food and drink and trying new dishes was voted among the things we most look forward to about going on holiday, along with freedom from our usual routine and visiting local attractions.

“However, while a third of people surveyed regularly use their local farmers market and independent shops to buy food, it’s surprising that just 12 per cent buy from them while on holiday. Nearly every town in Tuscany and Umbria hosts a weekly market, where the taste and quality of produce available from local suppliers draws the community and visitors alike.  There really is no better way of trying authentic local delicacies than by sampling the fresh foods on offer direct from the source.

“A self-catering break provides the flexibility to try your hand in the kitchen using local ingredients, and some properties even provide the option to invite an Italian chef over to prepare an authentic dinner for you and all the family, and even pass on some expert tips for you to take home.”

When on holiday, a quarter of us try the local speciality and many choose to bring authentic items home. Among the edible souvenirs bought holidaymakers returning to Britain, the old faithful Toblerone sits within the top five most popular, despite it being readily available in the UK.

The top five list of edible souvenirs:

  • French wine (31 per cent)
  • Olive oil (25 per cent)
  • French cheese (22 per cent)
  • Toblerone (21 per cent)
  • Italian pasta (14 per cent)
Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.