The main reason I decided to go abroad to Italy was the food. To some people that may seem silly, but to anyone who knows me, it's perfectly in character. The idea of sipping a nice Chianti Classico with a big bowl of cacio e pepe sounded like heaven to me (can confirm, it is heaven). What I didn't expect, was that my relationship with food would change and it would change for the better.

Let's Talk About the Food

Blair Baker

I had decently high expectations for the food in Italy and they were definitely exceeded. You know when food tastes so good you actually close your eyes and say "mmm" like you're in a bad Hallmark movie, well that happened IRL to me. Italians are very specific about their food; it all has to be high quality and made to perfection. Because of this, pretty much anything I ate was amazing. Additionally, because of the attention to high-quality ingredients, I also felt better. You know that feeling after you eat a big bowl of pasta and you just feel heavy and like you need to be rolled home to sleep it off? That didn't have to me. I could destroy a massive bowl of carbonara and be ready to go run a 5k (hypothetically ofc, I'm not a huge fan of running). 

*The photo above is from one of my favorite restaurants in Milan, Mi Scusi. You choose your pasta shape and sauce to ensure you're getting your favorite dish every time. Pictured above is orecchiette with gricia (which is basically carbonara minus the eggs).  

Me & Food

Blair Baker

I anticipated that going abroad I would get an "abroad bod". An abroad bod is the inevitable weight that is usually gained abroad from eating all the amazing food of your abroad destination. When I first landed in Italy, I tried to fight eating all the amazing food but after a couple weeks of longingly looking at the pasta on my friend's plate, I decided that I was in Italy and I needed to be enjoying it. Instead of depriving myself and then stuffing myself, I should enjoy the amazing food in Italy and all the other places I was traveling. You only study abroad once and I have my whole life to eat salad. I should enjoy the high-quality food, amazing flavors and not worry about my jeans being a little tighter. 

*The above photo is Spontini. It is an amazing pizza with a thick and fluffy crust. Bella Hadid recently posted a photo eating this pizza saying it was the best pizza she has had. I agree. 

What I ate

The moment you've been waiting for. Here are some of the best thing I ate abroad:

Blair Baker

Grom gelato in Florence, Italy. Crema di grom and salted caramel gelato with a view of the duomo. 

Blair Baker

This is the best meal I had in my entire abroad experience. Felice e Testaccio is located in Rome and Milan. The cacio e pepe is mixed at the table and is truly the best thing I have ever eaten. I would fly back to Milan for this pasta and a nice glass of chianti classico. 

Blair Baker

Gusta pizza in Florence, Italy. Not only is the pizza delicious, but you can have it made into a heart. It has a pizza my heart!

This is only a couple of the best things I ate in my four-month journey abroad. If you find yourself abroad, especially Italy, remember to enjoy the food and embrace the abroad bod. It may seem like the end of the world if your jeans are bit tighter, but while the weight can be lost, the memories last a lifetime. I know that I fall to sleep to the memory of pasta twirling around my fork.