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10 Italian Food and Drink Trends for 2024

Here are the most exciting and interesting trends we forecast featuring Italian food and drink in the new year.

Photos related to 2024 trends in Italian food

Italian Food and Drink Trends for 2024 (Clockwise from top left): Breakout TikTok/Instagram stars Gianluca Conte and Olivia Tiedemann; viral Christmas cookies; pizza as a palette; Stanley Tucci; extra virgin olive oil from Sicily; Che Fico Parco Menlo combines mozzarella and caviar.

Italian food and drink had a tremendous year in the United States in 2023. New Italian restaurants opened frequently, with much fanfare, in most major U.S. markets—for instance, the San Francisco Chronicle declared an “Italian food renaissance” in the Bay Area. Americans traveled to Italy in droves, as evidenced by everyone’s summer Instagram feeds and popular destinations such as Venice winding up on the most over-touristed place lists. Cacio e pepe may have been the flavor of the year, turning up in crisps (aka potato chips), cocktails, and in one of Appetito’s most visited recipes, cabbage. And of course, drinking Italian-style rose to even greater heights, with expanding Negroni and Spritz menus from coast to coast, as well as too many espresso Martinis, and even non-alcoholic spritzes and amari having a moment.

While that’s all in the past now, certainly some of last year’s trends will inform this year’s new developments. Others, like Italian cocktails and spirits, don't qualify as trends anymore, as they have become ingrained in American culinary culture. Negroni, anyone? Here are Italian food and drink trends for 2024:

Italy and Italian Food on TV

Yes, Stanley Tucci found a new network on which to continue his Italian food explorations, announcing a forthcoming show that will appear on the Nat Geo channel sometime in 2024. Meanwhile, Giada De Laurentiis signed a deal with Amazon to produce unscripted shows, hinting at one with LA pasta maestro Evan Funke in a recent Los Angeles magazine cover story. And Food Network is scheduled to air a second season of its shot-in-Italy food competition show Ciao House, starring Alex Guarnaschelli and Gabriele Bertaccini.

Italian Culinary Crossovers

The rise of Wafu (Japanese-Italian) cuisine and the use of pizza and Italian sandwiches as a vehicle for many non-Italian ingredients—from avocado to kimchi to jerk chicken—continued to gain momentum last year, and we see this trend accelerating in 2024 in places like NYC and Los Angeles, where chefs and others from different backgrounds enjoy introducing unexpected elements in their dishes or offerings. At Katherine Meets Toni in NYC’s NoMad, for instance, the Sicilian-Korean owner Tony Park has introduced dishes like a bulgogi with truffles and buffalo mozzarella pizza that seems shocking but tastes delicious. Phrases like this caught our eye—from Hotels Above Par’s write-up on Sorate, the Japanese matcha bar in NYC opened by Italian expat Silvia Mella—“Italian ingredients such as prosciutto and robiola cheese seamlessly find their spot on the menu alongside Japanese elements like black sesame tofu and candied yuzu.” 

“Italian-ish”

Along the same lines, chefs and bartenders are using Italian cuisine as a jumping-off point for dishes, drinks, and even bars and restaurants. At restaurants like La Collina in Washington, DC, Torrisi in NYC, and Il Bracco in Dallas, Italian-ish has become shorthand for a philosophy that respects Italian traditions without being trapped by them. This extends to cocktails: In 2023, acclaimed NYC bar Double Chicken Please rose to prominence in large part due to savory drink creations including the Cold Pizza, made with tequila, Parmigiano Reggiano, burnt toast, tomato, basil, honey, and egg whites. Appetito even included “Italian-ish” non-alcoholic drinks in a roundup tied to “Sober October.”

Niche Italian Markets

As the audience for Italian food and drink keeps growing, so does the need for markets focused on specific niches. Agata & Valentina arguably started this trend in 2022 with a gluten-free gourmet Italian market on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, with pasta, pizza dough, and other high-quality products available for those who avoid gluten by necessity or choice. More recently, in December 2023, Travelers, Poets & Friends opened in the West Village, offering a meat-free Italian shopping experience. The latest establishment from One More Hospitality Group, the market joins their Italian restaurants Alice and Osteria 57 in offering vegetarian and pescatarian dishes and, in its market, items from pasta to baked goods to pizza, but nary a mortadella in sight. As dietary restrictions and trends change, it’s easy to envision other specialty shops, from plant-based and wellness-oriented to region-specific.

Dolce

We predict that 2024 will be the year Americans look beyond tiramisu and gelato for Italian desserts and sweets. Since Appetito launched last year, Ale Gambini has contributed memorable baking recipes in her “Dolce Queen” column, and while that may imply a bias, consider a few other things: 1) One of the hottest cookbooks of the moment is Giuseppe’s Easy Bakes by Giuseppe Dell’Anno, who was the first Italian to win the popular competition show The Great British Bake-Off. (You may have noticed his amaretti and coffee cheesecake recipe on Appetito.) 2) Everyone in America was making Christmas cookies for the last few weeks—at least that was the way it seemed on TikTok; 3) Year-round panettone, which you know will yield new flavors including some savory options; 4) Just as regional Italian cooking has taken off in the U.S., so may regional Italian baking. 

Restaurants with Alimentari

The proliferation of Eataly locations—with new shops added in NYC and Toronto in late 2023, with more to come in 2024—and a growing lineup of Italian markets in general hasn’t stopped restaurateurs from opening alimentari connected to their businesses. Customers seem to enjoy buying products to cook at home, whether imported from Italy or made in-house, curated by the chefs and restaurateurs they respect. Often, these establishments offer a more casual dining experience as well. It’s hardly a new idea: in New York City, Il Buco Alimentari opened back in 2011 as a hybrid market and wine bar, and it continues to evolve, while many restaurants pivoted to carrying products for sale during the pandemic. But several notable shops from acclaimed restaurants suggest that there will be more to come, including Misipasta in Brooklyn, where Missy Robbins’ team makes incredible fresh pasta to pair with house-made jarred sauces and other specialty items, and Che Fico Parco Menlo, the new location of the Bay Area fine dining Italian outpost, which will soon add an alimentari in the same complex.

Italian-American Social Media Grows Up

Who are we kidding? You honestly think @meals_by_cug is going to start eloquently assessing the Cannelloni of Lobster and Golden Osetra at Café Carmellini without mentioning your sister or signing off with his “brush ya hair” line? Or @livforpasta will set her TikTok recipes to classical music and start concluding her cooking demos with a polite wave to the camera rather than flipping the bird? Or that @itsqcp will cover up in chef’s whites under his apron and avoid mentioning the “B-word” at all costs? Nope! Our prediction for ‘24 is more big personalities, more leaning into Italian-American stereotypes, and more Italian-food-influenced viral trends.

Italian Natural Wine’s Next Moves 

Italian winemakers have been integral to the natural wine movement for over a decade, but there are interesting developments to keep an eye on in 2024. Well-known sparkling Italian wines from Franciacorta and Lambrusco are facing disruption, as winemakers tone down the sweetness and big flavors in favor of earthier notes, while highlighting their independence from industrial farming. Alessandra Divella’s elegant yet unfussy sparkling wines from Franciacorta have earned comparisons to grower Champagne from France. Her Divella Gussago wines are made in the méthode champenoise, like other Franciacorta, but she prefers the “zero dosage/zero sulfur” approach, which avoids adding a dose of sweet wine before bottling, and adds no sulfites. Meanwhile in Modena, a group of natural winemakers are creating sparkling wines in Lambrusco that aim to alter the notion that the red sparkler needs to be sweet. Max Brondolo of Podere Sottoilnoce has been using biodynamic practices to make wines in the heart of Lambrusco Grasparossa DOC since 2016, and has banded together with others to start what they’re calling the Frizzante Revolution. The sustainability-minded movement makes wines with Lambrusco and other indigenous grapes, but unlike industrial winemakers in the area, avoid disgorging, which pumps up the fizziness and sweetness of the wines. The resulting down-to-earth versions of Lambrusco are fascinating to drink.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Terroir

Do you know your Ligurian Taggiasca from your Abruzzese Nostrano from your Tuscan Leccino? Increasingly, makers of extra virgin olive oil from Italy are noting the cultivars used to press into oil, as well as the distinctive flavors from specific regions. If you prefer the fruitier olive oils from Sicily or the peppery versions from Tuscany, be prepared to dig deeper in 2024 as you explore which expression of EVOO best suits your palate.

Italian-Style Wellness

Americans in general tend to focus their wellness efforts solely on diet or the latest hot workout. The approaches focus on the short-term. Italian-style wellness is more holistic and, while it doesn’t offer a quick fix, it provides a roadmap to a healthier lifestyle. As health and wellness coach Marianna Cuomo Maier wrote in a recent story for Appetito, “The authentic Italian lifestyle embodies optimal health and wellness by embracing an active lifestyle, focusing on fresh, healthful foods, prioritizing leisure, and valuing time with loved ones.” In other words, it’s not about cutting out carbs or signing up for an extra SoulCycle class, but treating your body and mind with respect. Speaking more strictly from the food side, pantry ingredients like sardines, lentils, lupini beans, and chickpeas are inexpensive and healthy, improving not only health but financial wellness. Look for more ideas around Italian lifestyle solutions in 2024—especially at appetitomagazine.com!

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