5 foods you'll miss if you're Italian living in the U.S.

TransferWise content team
3 minute read

More than 350,000 Italians live in the U.S.. But living in another country is by no easy thing.

Around the world, Italian food in synonymous with deliciousness. In the U.S., even the smallest of towns boast an Italian restaurant, often offerings dishes such as fettuccini alfredo or spaghetti with meatballs that one would rarely -- if ever -- actually spot in Italy.

TransferWise customers and colleagues are a smart bunch - they know how to get the best deal when they send money back to Italy. So we asked some of our Italian customers in the U.S. which foods they miss most from back home, and where to find them in the Land of Choices.


In the U.S. nearly everyone screams for ice cream. But until recently there has not been as resonating as a cry for gelato, a smoother and silkier variant that uses more milk than cream.

But now that sales are skyrocketing -- 11 million in 2009 to about $214 million in 2014 -- it’s getting easier to satiate your cravings when Stateside. While a lot of brands aren’t quite the real deal, the 100% Italian brand Venchi sells its imported gelato in a few locations in the U.S., including Eataly in New York.



“I don’t believe in the concept of espresso abroad,” one Italian expat told us. OK, this sacred coffee drink isn’t a food, but enjoyed as beloved accompaniment to sweets or simply savored by itself in the morning with milk.

While many argue that its perfect blend of bitter, sour and sweet hasn’t been achieved in the U.S., you can at least find several authentic Italian espresso makers on the market, such as the Bialetti Stovetop espresso maker.

Stracchino cheese


Hailing from Northern Italy, this is a superb melting cheese on pizzas, but also as a filling on focaccia or piadino.

In the U.S. it’s possible to buy the Crescenza Stracchino cheese (a second place winner in the World Cheese Awards) online or at Whole Foods, where you can also pick up a frozen wood-fired Stracchino and Arugula pizza imported from Italy.



Move over, spaghetti. These extruded pastas traditionally made from buckwheat flour and duck eggs form a long, thick tube. If you’re interested in making it from scratch in the States, it might be worth it to, um, put down the dough for a Bigoli pasta maker, sold on Amazon.com.

Or check out this recipe from Italian chef Mario Batali on how to make Bigoli using just flour, eggs, butter and a cutting board.


Most Americans know of “Chestnuts roasting over an open fire” only from the popular Christmas song.

But Italians better know it as a tradition, either at open air markets or from their own oven before they crack open the delectable nut. Especially in November and December, it’s easy to find Italian-imported Marroni sold around the U.S., including Whole Foods and Cost Plus World Markets.

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