Italian Baby Food

My very first (and very short-lived) job in Italy was as a babysitter. I spent most of the first day being shown how to prepare dinner for a 7-month-old baby. That is when I realized that Italian baby food is… different.

Italian babies are on a whole other diet level from their American counterparts.  Most baby food is made at home, but it is the kind that you buy in stores is absolutely fascinating to me: rabbit meat baby food, trout for babies, and last but not least- horse meat (with vegetables) as baby food.

Don’t believe me?

pre-package baby food on a shelf in Italy

“Cavallo”= Horse, if that wasn’t clear based on the package illustration.

Italian baby food also includes two other major sources of protein for babies- rabbit and lamb:

blue packages of baby food with animals

And what child embarking on solid food for the first time wouldn’t love veal and flounder??

While these little jars still strike me as a bit of a stretch given the “prunes” and “carrots” that I grew up seeing in American baby food aisles, I actually admire that Italian babies are given an early introduction to the same types of foods adults eat.

jars of baby food in an Italian supermarket

In fact, I am starting to feel like Italian baby food is better than my regular dietary intake.

Typical Italian baby food

And, since we are in Italy, of course there is prosciutto for infants.

In case you are curious as to what a typical Italian baby might actually eat, a typical 7-month-old child would be served a mix of homemade foods and potentially store-bought jars like those above.

To prepare Italian baby food:
-Take 1 jar of crazy baby meat product
-Mix with 150 ml of homemade vegetable broth
-Add three spoonfuls of semolina (cereal)
-Add 1 spoonful of freshly ground Parmigiano Reggiano
-Don’t forget to drizzle with olive oil

Update March 2018: And I need the practice because I now have a little baby of my own.

8 Comments

  • Reply Tweets that mention Italian Baby Food | An American in Rome -- Topsy.com October 19, 2010 at 11:09 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Debi Teter, Natalie Rae. Natalie Rae said: Taking a stroll down the baby food aisle in Italy. I spy veal, proscuitto and HORSE meat for babies http://bit.ly/bD3zIs […]

  • Reply Steve October 20, 2010 at 10:26 am

    What’s wrong with this? I see nothing wrong with a baby eating lamb, rabbit, horse, veal or fish. It’s all a good source of protein. Americans need to stop comparing the rest of the world with themselves. We do things differently in Europe. Perhaps if you followed our lead you wouldn’t be the most obese western nation.

  • Reply jann October 24, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for these great observations about Italian baby food! Fascinating!

  • Reply audra October 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Paul- I don’t believe she was stating it was wrong; just that it was different!

    Chill out a bit, and pass me a horse steak. It’s yummy.

  • Reply Pete October 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    They don’t have ‘cinghiale’? I’m disappointed!

  • Reply Nadia November 9, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Wow, crazy! I would’ve never known they have that on the shelves!

  • Reply dena March 27, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Does it taste better than the baby food in US ? baby food in US tastes terrible, thats why once you let baby taste table food, they don’t want to eat baby food ever again!!!

  • Reply Silvia April 15, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Hey everyone! Well, didn’t even know we do have horse baby food 😱😱😱 anyway I do not even take in consideration Mellin’s baby food as it is packed with added sugars. I Do prepare everything at home, only sometimes i use ready to use baby food by Hipp or Alcenero organic. And yes..the meat in the bar tastes very bad also here, that’s why i do not like it at all!much better to steam fish and meat with some fresh veggies 😅

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.