Known for its fresh, colourful foods, Italy enjoys some of the most divine dishes and famous recipes in the world. Although Italy did not unite as a country until the 19th century, it’s believed that their cuisine has been developing for centuries and continues to dominate the food market. Not to mention, Italy is one of the largest producers of wine in the world.
Exploring Italian Cuisine
In Italy, dishes are straightforward to prepare, using fresh produce and containing few ingredients. It is also customary to enjoy a glass of wine with meals.
Yet, Italian cuisine is diverse within the 20 Italian regions. Over the years, recipes have developed differently for geographic, climatic and historical reasons. For a little nation, it has developed a menu made up of various dishes, all prepared in a unique way with distinct flavours and ingredients.
Recipes have become part of a region’s identity, to the point where the authenticity of foods is protected by law. For example, any cheese that is labelled ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ has to be made in one of the provinces in Emilia-Romagna.
Why are Recipes So Different?
One of the main reasons why dishes vary between regions in Italy is down to the weather as this affects what ingredients grow in the area. With a Mediterranean climate, places in Southern Italy enjoy warm and sunny weather, which is why olive oil and tomato based recipes are popular.
Geography plays a part in what ingredients can be grown. As the land is flatter in Northern Italy, it has better conditions for raising cattle and has developed a reliance on using dairy products in dishes. For example, creamy risottos are a popular meal in this region with butter and cheese made from cow’s milk.
The history in Italy also affects how dishes were created. It is believed that the conquerors may have influenced North African couscous that can be found in Sicily and Arabic spices used in dishes.
Italian cuisine has become popular across the globe with many countries creating eateries to honour the delicious dishes. Italian restaurants in Dublin and further afield, such as Toscana and others, bring authentic recipes to life; serving a variety of pastas, bread and pizza, to name a few.
These different factors have created a regional diversity that makes Italians proud of their food and heritage.