Food and Wine Culture and Traditions Italian Culinary

THE ITALIAN CUISINE. A melting pot of traditions and flavours along all the “Stivale” (the boot). Italy can boast of a unique culinary tradition in the world: each of the twenty (20) Italian regions has a big variety of recipes, wines, ingredients and typical food products. The Italian Cuisine has got ancient roots and customs, passed down over the centuries thanks to the old farming families.

That’s why it’s a genuine, healthy and nourishing cuisine enrich in natural ingredients such as vegetables, legumes that go well with single courses of “pasta” or with the several types of meat, fish or aromatic cheeses and wonderful desserts. Without a doubt, the main element in the Italian Cuisine is the “first course”, from “pasta asciutta” or “pasta” in soup, to the different Kinds of soups and pottages, to the “risotto” and the vegetable or meat pies. “Pasta”, for the quality of its nutritive values, is surely the most eaten food by Italians. It’s a product obtained from wheat flour, usually durum wheat flour. The major component of “pasta” is starch (75%) that is a carbohydrate. But pasta’s nutritive values are due to a part of proteins (about 11%), to an excellent digestibility and an abundance of mineral salts; fats are present in a small quantity. However we don’t have to forget that the majority of the most common traditional dishes come from the “poor cuisine” developed by farming families and lower classes. Over time, these humble origins have brought to the creation of real “specialities”. Just think about those soups based on stale bread and vegetables such as the well-known “ribollita” or “acqua cotta” from Tuscany and many other recipes that have become “classics” in our culinary tradition.

The Italian Cuisine forms the basis of the Mediterranean diet: pasta, vegetables, fruits, fish and above all olive oil (the latter turned out to be really efficient for the prevention of arteriosclerosis and heart attack). The economic growth over the last fifty years has created a gastronomy rich in the proteins and fats more than in the past but, little by little, we have discovered the necessity of coming back to a diet more related to the land, its seasons and its customs. From wine to “pasta”, from olive oil to tomato, Italy is full of charm and traditions. Matching the different specialities allows you to enlarge your own knowledge about food as well as to satisfy your personal tastes.

The Italian Cuisine is characterised by typical food products which make different each region. From the North to the South of our country you can find unique delicacies that have always made Italy one of the most appreciated touristic sites in the world. One of the most important characteristics of our cuisine is probably its large variety: different territorial features, ingredients and raw materials.

Starting from the Northern regions (such as Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and so on), going through those ones of the Centre (Lazio, Umbria, Marche etc.), getting the Southern part of Italy (Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia) and without forgetting Sicilia and Sardegna, each Italian region has got unique and amazing peculiarities. That is true both from a cultural and landscape point of view and a climatic one; in Italy we have different kinds of soils and surroundings, useful raw materials to have a rich and healthy “cuisine”. In this sense the Mediterranean diet can be considered a real benchmark. Also cereals are an important part of the Italian Cuisine; they’re used for the production of pasta (short or long) and bread. In this short introduction we can’t avoid to mention the wine, considered to be as one of the best products of our country. Each Italian region has its own wine production and tradition related to the History and the customs of our territory.

Italian wines can be regarded as among the best wines in the world. The variety about the soil and the climate allow to have wines with deep and different characteristics: from the red ones produced in Piemonte to the white wines of Trentino, from the “grappa” and the “Prosecco” produced in Veneto to the “passito” of Sicily and Sardinia. Obviously each wine has got its own peculiarities about weight and fullness and that’s why it can be combined with specific food. So it’s really interesting to suggest the right recipe matched with the most appropriate wine. Thanks to the large difference of tastes and flavours that characterise Italy from the North to the South, it’s always possible to invent new and original combinations.

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