Interested in knowing about the culinary heritage of Italy? Find out more about traditional Italian food and the factors that have influenced the Italian way of cooking over the years.
For most non-Italians the cuisine of the country is restricted to the few dishes that have managed to gain world wide acclaim, namely spaghetti and pizza. People tend to assume that traditional Italian cuisine is all pretty much alike and that there is no such variety in the Italian way of cooking. The truth however is quite the contrary as Italian cuisine in its entirety is extremely diverse, rich and varied. This aspect of Italian food only comes into light when you bother to take a deeper look into the country’s cuisine.
Regional Traditional Food
The country of Italy occupies a fairly large piece of land. Hence every region has its own peculiar style of cooking that is different from the other. Further more every community that resides inside each region has its own way as well. From the making of sausages to the preparation of cheese and bread each town has a distinctive methodology to cooking. If you ask ten different people in the same region about how to make some pasta sauce you would end up with ten different recipes. That’s how rich traditional Italian cuisine is.
Pasta happens to be the most popular food item in Italy. The multiplicity of the recipes that you find for pasta is a great example of the extensiveness of Italian cuisine. The northern areas are into soft egg noodles whereas the people of the south prefer hard boiled spaghetti. The differences in the size of the pasta are also quite visible. In fact if you analyze the cuisine of different countries you will find that traditional Italian cuisine stands unparalleled in terms of its fragmented divisions.
There are some regions that are known for certain particular dishes. For example Naples is the center for pizza whereas tortellini originates from Bologna and Risotto comes from Milan. The diversity of the Italian cuisine can be explained with the similitude of the Italian language. Just like the whole country speaks one language but each region has its own dialect in the same way the cuisine of Italy has a general outline but different regions have their own way of cooking.
There are different things that have contributed to the diversification of traditional Italian cuisine and amongst them the peasant heritage and difference in geography has played a major role. Italy stands separated from the rest of Europe through a chain of mountains. The map of Italy reveals it to be a narrow country with another long spine of mountains running north to south. Due to these reasons we find Italy to have a number of environments such as forest on the mountains, naked rocks, cool foothills, fertile valleys, arid plains and a long stretch of Mediterranean coastline. These different regions are also subject to varying climatic conditions. Add to that the influence of the different nations that have come into close contact with the region and you get and the rich culinary heritage of Italy. The Greeks, Romans, Turks and the Arabs have all had a great influence on Italian cuisine.