Wondering what the Italians like to eat? Dig into some knowledge about authentic Italian food. Our guide to real Italian cuisine gives you the facts & information you want to know.
History of Italian Food
The land that comes under Italy expands over a relatively large area. This is one of the reasons why we find so much variance between the cuisines of different regions of Italy. Some attempts were made to unify the cuisine of Italy in 1861 but a large amount of differences still remain. The culinary treasure chest of Italy has been influenced by a host of different cultures such as the Roman, Greek, German, Gallic, Slavic, Arab, Turkish, and Chinese along with others. Actually you will find that there is no such thing as one formalized set of foods that can be referred to as the authentic Italian cuisine.
Authentic Northern Food
The diverse regional cuisine of Italy utilizes the products that are found in abundance in the particular region. The authentic Italian food from the North has its own set of particular ingredients which includes a generous use of butter, polenta, different kinds of creams, mascarpone parmingiano and grana padano cheeses. Other items that are commonly found in the authentic Italian food from the north is lasagna and fresh egg pasta along with risotto.
Real Southern Food
The southern style however is quite different to that of the north. Here you will find much of the cooking to be based on the use of tomatoes and olive oil. Caciocavallo, peconrino and mozzarella cheeses along with dry pasta are some of the popular items of the south. When you look at the coastal and central regions you will find them to make use of ravioli, tortellini and proscuitto in abundance in their cooking. The regional differences in cooking are even apparent in Italy’s most famous food; the pizzas, as different regions have their own way to make it.
Generally speaking pasta is the most authentic Italian food which is generally consumed as the first course. Certain areas like the far north however like to start off with polenta or risotto. Meat is an integral part of the Italian cuisine but it is not something that you will find on the tables everyday. The Italians are more into consuming vegetables, legumes and different kinds of grains on a daily basis. Olive oil too is an integral part of the Italian cuisine but it is available in different variations. For example the olive oil used in the north is more refined and golden in color as compared to the dark green oil commonly used in the south.
Vegetables, fruits, grains, cheeses, fish and different kinds of meat are the basic elements of the authentic Italian cuisine. No matter what dish is prepared in Italy it is almost always seasoned with olive oil. An interesting element to rise out of Italy is its poor people’s diet. The diet that came into being due to scarce economic resources is now being considered as the ideal model according to which we should shape our everyday diet. Thus the Mediterranean diet is considered to be one that is very healthy.