Italy has more than its share of world-class food products: truffles, cheeses, sausages, hams and let’s not even get started with the amazing variety of fresh fruit and vegetables its climate allows for. All of these, in a way or the other, became part of Italy’s famous cuisine. Certainly, the abundance of fresh produce and plenty of land to create pastures for cattle helped the people of Italy, throughout the millennia, to develop a varied type of cuisine, which we still enjoy today. It doesn’t come as a surprise so that variety and tradition are two essential factors of the success of Italian cooking style around the world. However, there is a third, which cannot be forgotten: creativity.
Food and tradition take all shapes and forms in an italian kitchen: it’s not only the recipes, but also the tricks to grow herbs and vegetables or the secret uses of those to make you feel better when you’re sick. This is why we associate so much the idea of tradition in the kitchen with grandmas: not only because most of our nonne were absolutely fantastic, unimaginable cooks, but also because their recipes were not only made to feed, but also to cure us.
Variety of ingredients and the creative minds of the cooks have made for recipes so extraordinary that resisted in spite of the time and are still enjoyable today as they were hundreds of years ago. Extraordinary not only because of their deliciousness, but also because they managed to create something amazing often from little more than nothing: what about Tuscan panzanella, born as a manner not to waste stale bread, or pasta cacio e pepe, popular among central Italy’s shepherds because they could carry peppercorns and cheese easily in their pockets. Or think of genoese pesto, born off the necessity to give sailors a sauce that would last throughout those endless months of navigation. The same happened for those delicious lemon and herbs marinated anchovies, so popular on the Italian riviera, or their –well known in the US too, especially on pizza!– salted variety, fantastic for pizzas and sauces. Think of polenta, the ubiquitous cornmeal dish that has been a staple of northern Italian winter cuisine for centuries, mainly for two, very pragmatic reasons: corn was cheap and grew up high on the hills and the mountains; polenta filled your stomach quickly and for long, very important when there was little or nothing else to keep you going working in the fields for the rest of the day.
The greatness of Italian food is truly all in this triad, variety, tradition and creativity: this section of our website will help you navigate through the products, the produce and the recipes that make Italian food so amazingly good. What are they? Which part of Italy do they hail from, the north, the centre, the south? Are they traditionally eaten in a particular time of the year, or on specific occasions? All these are important factors to know, if you love food and love Italy, because the two go hand in hand. So much about the country can be learned through the history of its food and the way it ties in with Italian heritage: so come on into our kitchen and learn some of our secrets!
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