Best Italy Cruise: Where Food Secrets Are Revealed

On Italy's most remote islands, cooking secrets are still preserved. What's in the kitchen tells only part of the story. Read more about Italy's Secret Ingredient. Read more about Italy's Secret Ingredient, and join a unique culinary cruise to experience it all for yourself.

Italy Recipe: Spaghetti Al Limone | Sicily's Egadi Islands | Top 15 Most Beautiful Photos of Italy's Island Paradise

There are 300 varieties of pasta here, with a large number of them originating from the Amalfi coast. But it takes more than a pot of boiling water to turn this truly Italian pasta into something memorable. | Jen Judge
Do you have any idea how hard it was to take pictures when the door to this bakery on the island of Procida opened? Very. | Jen Judge
Tomatoes. Oil. A bowl. It doesn't have to be complicated to be special. | Jen Judge
As close as they are to the mainland, the ruggedness of the Phlegrean islands has helped them guard many of their cooking traditions. | Jen Judge
Olives come from local groves and are often the simplest and healthiest centerpieces of huge Italian spreads. | Jen Judge
One secret to incredible Italian food: Don't rush, either in the kitchen or at the table. | Jen Judge
The Mediterranean has a lesson for anyone who thinks a fish has to be man-size to make the epicurean cut. | Jen Judge
European Community food regulations are making it harder to buy jars of preserved produce picked from local farms. Families who have been selling these delicious stocks for a century or more are being driven out of business. Finding these nuanced flavors has become a treasure hunt. | Jen Judge
Culinary excellence does not always rely on fancy tools or culinary-school degrees. It's all about a feel for food. | Jen Judge
Ventotene is a speck of an island, and the locals are holding onto the tradition of preserving food with jars instead of chemicals. New restrictions are making it harder to maintain their grip. | Jen Judge
Fresh seafood and hot grills are a great start. The elusive ingredient that makes this meal memorable? It's the seasoned touch of hands that have done this over and over and over. | Jen Judge
Ristorante Bar da Benito overlooks a bay once used for Roman fish pools. It is named after the 84-year-old proprietor, Benito Malingiere, who still bastes fish with a switch of rosemary over an open grill. | Jen Judge
Peggy Markel's tour is eight days of sailing, tasting, and dropping in on classic Italian street scenes far from the mainland ( | Jen Judge
Pasta literally means "dough." It refers to the egg flour and water from which the noodles are cut. It's served at every meal on these islands, in a million different ways. | Jen Judge
Lemons near the Amalfi coast are as big as youth footballs. They grow under the protection of mountains, where winds from the north meet winds from the south. The rich flavor makes these lemons ideal for gelato and spaghetti al limone. We should have this recipe on our site, under recipes, if you want to link to it. | Jen Judge
It doesn't take much too satisfy, not when it's done like this. | Jen Judge
Capri is known as the Monte Carlo of the Phlegean. It's a flashy island, but the local cooks do miraculous things with simple ingredients like zucchini blossoms, olive oil and prawns. | Jen Judge
These island people know their way around the sea and the kitchens equally well. | Jen Judge
Agostino and Francesco d'Ambra run the kitchen at La Trattoria Il Focolare, a family-run eatery on the island of Ischia. The rabbit, and the stories told, make it more of an experience than a meal. | Jen Judge
An Italian specialty is the wait before a meal. It's why they're social people. | Jen Judge
One type of pasta does not fit all occasions. Neither do 20 types. There's thick- ribbon, cockscomb, thick rings, squid ink, and 296 more. "You would never get farfalle with tomato sauce," says Peggy Markel. | Jen Judge
Lemons are the essence of Amalfi. "My lemons aren't like the ones from Argentina or China," says Amalfi farmer Luigi Aceto. "Those are yellow objects pretending to be fruit." Luigi has grown more than 2,000 lemon trees on stair-step terraces. | Jen Judge
The 52-foot Hanse sailing yacht that explores the islands has just four berths for a small group of guests — and lots of wine. Our eight-day cruise cost $4,720. For itinerary and booking information, go to | Jen Judge
When the lights are on along the islands of Capri, Ischia, Procida and Ventotene (home to 700 residents), you know something's been cooking for a while. That's the main secret: don't rush a good thing. | Jen Judge