Italian cuisine

While the Italian cuisine known around the world for dishes such as pizza and pasta, the domestic cuisine of Italy itself differs a lot from internationalized Italian dining.

Understand

Some Italian culinary traditions go back to the Roman Empire.

As Italy was not unified until the 19th century, and provincial patriotism is strong, ingredients, cooking methods and manners vary between provinces. In a real sense, it can be said that in Italy, there is no such thing as "Italian cuisine", but rather, multiple styles of local cuisines that sometimes differ between one village and the next, and even more so, one traditional region and the next. In general, northern Italian cuisine has similarities with Central Europe. Animal fats such as butter and lard dominate. Southern Italy has more of the typical Mediterranean cuisine, based on olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and sub-tropical fruits.

Italian cooking has spread to places such as the United States through migration. It is mostly Neapolitan pizza and Italian-American cuisine which have been popularized worldwide.

Ingredients

In addition to savory food, there are wonderful Italian pastries, especially in Naples and other points south but also in places like Siena, which aside from pan-Tuscan treats, also has some local specialities, most notably panforte, a kind of very dense cake.

In general, you can expect every place you visit in Italy to have its own local specialities. If you seek them out, look for restaurants serving cucina tipica and patronise local bakeries as well.

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