Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Traditional Foods of Italy

People always ask me what are traditional foods of Italy. There are regional differences in what Italians eat but having lived and visited various parts of Italy, I can say that there are staples and ingredients that have become known as the traditional foods of Italy.
Throughout the peninsula of Italy you will find that Italians eat pasta in all shapes and sizes. Pasta is either homemade "fatto a mano" or machine made and is either with or without eggs. Everyone has their favorite manufacturer of pasta and they range in quality and also in price. Pasta is a staple and often eaten everyday at least once a day.
Other traditional foods of Italy include tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic. Tomatoes are both used as an important ingredient or eaten alone. Tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, ripe tomatoes, tomatoes for salads. There are a multitude of different types and uses. This is an essential vegetable in the Italian diet. Olive oil is also very important and is used at every meal both to cook with and to dress your favorite dish. One should not forget that garlic should always be present in every kitchen. Put the three together with the other essential staple, bread, and you have got a great "bruschetta".
In the bread category, pizza is up there on the list of traditional foods of Italy. Pizza originated in Naples and is eaten all over Italy with great enthusiasm. Again we have all types of pizza: "la margherita " cheese and tomato sauce, "caprese" white pizza with cherry tomatoes, "quattro stagione" pizza with four different toppings and so forth.
The lunch meats and cheeses are very important traditional foods of Italy and include prosciutto, salami, coppa, mortadella, etc. Finally the cheeses are made up of mozzarella, pecorino, and parmigiano to name only a few.
These are the staples that are never lacking in an Italian household. Of course Italians love meat, fish and vegetables but they are secondary to the aformentioned. No wonder they call them "i secondi" seconds and "i contorni" side dishes!

1 comment:

Siicly Paul said...

The food of Italy in my view is the very best in the world. I hear a lot of friends say they love Indian and Thai food etc but I find that the curry powders and spices mean you do not taste the food itself. Italian food though is tasty, healthy and yet simplistic.

Italian for me every time!!!!

Sicily Property