Spaghetti bolognese is not a thing. That's one of the first points to get across – that's one of the first things you need to understand. If you go to Italy and you find a nice restaurant and you see that it has spaghetti bolognese on the menu, then you're not in a nice restaurant. You're in a tourist trap.
Spaghetti bolognese is not a thing in the same way that thick-crust pizza is not a thing, in the same way that fettucine alfredo is not a thing. In fact, even the basic concept of Italian food is not really a thing.
The more time you spend in the country, the more you realise that Italian food is actually Roman food, and Tuscan food, and Sicilian food, and Pugliese food, and so many more regional cuisines.
This is a nation of extremely parochial regional cooks, and if you don't order the right dishes in the right cities then you'll find that one of the world's great food destinations is actually kind of terrible.
On this episode of Flight of Fancy, I chat to award-winning chef Mitch Orr and Good Food writer Sofia Levin - we dig deep into the world of Italian food.
We're talking pizza and pasta, arancini and panini, everything from aperitivo to digestivo, everything that's tasty and good in this fine foodie land. They'll also tell you how to avoid the bad stuff, how to steer clear of the rip-offs and the tourist tack and discover just how amazing this cuisine can be.