[box_light]Aah…Pasta, pizza, and cheese. These are the three main things that come to mind when we say Italian cuisine. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the vast, flavorful and vibrant stuff that Italians have to offer for our gastronomical needs.[/box_light]
[box_dark] The Introduction[/box_dark]
Italian cuisine is mainly characterized by its extreme simplicity, with minimal ingredients and the use of the freshest of produce. Italian chefs rely on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. The recepies are mainy influenced and largely created by grandmothers or mothers, and therefore making it suitably for home cooking. Many dishes were once regional but have spread steadily throughout the country.
Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, with many variations throughout the country. Coffee, specifically Expresso, has become important in the cuisine.
[box_dark]The Ingredient Basket[/box_dark]
Italian cuisine has a huge variety of the best quality ingredients which are commonly used, ranging from fruits & veggies to different sauces & meats.
North of Country– Fish, potatoes, rice, maize, corn, sausages, pork, and different types of cheeses are the main ingredients used in this region. There is very less use of tomatoes and ‘white’ sauces are more preffered. polenta (equivalent of dahlia, but a much finer grain and made of corn.. Cornmeal is the given term for it.).
In Emilia-Romagna, common ingredients include ham (prosciutto), sausage, and different sorts of salami, truffles, grana, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tomatoes (Bolognese sauce or ragù).
Central Italy (The so-called traditional food)– Tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fish, and pecorino cheese are extensively used. In Tuscany and Umbria, pasta is usually served with carrettiara. (a tomato sauce loaded with spicy peperoncini peppers.. YUM).
Finally, in Southern Italy– tomatoes (fresh or cooked into tomato sauce) peppers, olives and olive oil, garlic, artichokes, oranges, ricotta cheese, eggplants, zucchini, certain types of fish, and capers are important components to the local cuisine.
They come in various shapes, sizes, colors and types & are admired by people all over the world.
Their name is Pasta and it is a staple in Italian cuisine (obvious but still..).
It has been in their diet for many centuries and over that time, they have
perfected the art of pasta making and have made it an art. There are more than 100 varieties of pasta, most of them being regional. They are usually served with various types of sauces and garnished with cheese.
[box_dark]Food Establishments in Italy[/box_dark]
|Agriturismo||Working farms that offer accommodations and meals. Often the meals are served to guests only. Marked by a green and gold sign with a knife and fork.|
|Bar/Caffé||Locations which serve coffee, soft drinks, juice and alcohol. Foods may include brioche, panini, tramezzini (sandwiches) and spuntini (snacks such as olives, potato chips and small pieces of frittata).|
|Birreria||A bar that offers beer found in central and northern regions of Italy.|
|Frasca/Locanda||Friulian wine producers that open for the evening and may offer food along with their wines.|
|Gelateria||An Italian ice cream shop/bar, that sells gelato. A shop where you can get your gelato to go, or sit down and eat it in a cup or a cone. You can also order bigger ice desserts, or coffee and liquors.|
|Osteria||Focused on simple food of the region, often having only a verbal menu. Many are open only at night but some open for lunch.|
|Paninoteca||Sandwich shop which is open during the day.|
|Pizzeria||Locations specializing in Pizza. Wood fired-pizza ovens are a specialty of Italy.|
|Polenteria||A regional establishment seen in limited number north of Emilia-Romagna.|
|Ristorante||Often offers upscale cuisine and printed menus.|
|Spaghetteria||Originating in Naples, offering pasta dishes and other main courses.|
|Tavola Calda||Literally “hot table”, offers pre-made regional dishes. Most open at 11am and close late.|
|Trattoria||A dining establishment often family run with inexpensive prices and an informal atmosphere.|
Spagetti Bolognese, Pizza, Lasagne with Bolognese or Ragù sauces, Béchamel sauce are the popular italian foods that have travelled here and are indeed popular.
USA and Canada
Much of Italian-American cuisine is based on that found in Campania and Sicily, heavily Americanized to reflect ingredients and conditions found in the United States. Most pizzas eaten around the world are derived ultimately from the Neapolitan style but with variations according to the regions and few upgrades. Gelato, a type of light iced-dessert is also popular in the United States and is another Italian product.
Italian cuisine is popular in Brazil, due to great immigration there in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Due to the huge Italian community, São Paulo is the place where this cuisine is most appreciated. Several types of pasta and meat, including Milanese steaks, have made their way into both daily home and street kitchens and fancy restaurants. The city has also developed its particular variety of pizza, different from both Neapolitan and American varieties, and it is largely popular on weekend dinners. In Rio de Janeiro, Italian cuisine is also popular and pizza has developed as a typical snack and (I was surprised at this) as a hangover curing snack too!
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