Food travel through Italy
Italy is a country which can be defined by diversity and the same goes for the Italian cuisine. Italian food and wine are probably as famous as Italy’s artistic and historical assets. Italian wines such as Chianti and Barolo or their speciality foods like mozzarella, truffles and olives are so popular that they have almost become a symbol of this cuisine.
Italian cuisine has developed over the centuries through the changing of times, gaining several of their most ‘famous’ ingredients and cooking techniques from other countries. Ships were sent to different countries to import and collect different foods such as wine, wheat and spices.
India has embraced this satiating cuisine and it has now become an intrinsic part of our national culinary culture. We Indians are not alone in our love of Italian food, it’s one of the most popular and widely adopted cuisines the world over.
Here are the best 6 Italian dishes from across the country:
Polenta, in short, is a cornmeal porridge that is a common dish in Northern Italy. It’s frequently eaten with meats, cheese like gorgonzola, or condiments like mostarda d’uva, a grape-and-nut jam from Piedmont. It can either be eaten freshly cooked, much like a thick porridge, or it can be cooled and then sliced and fried, grilled, or baked.
The original, costly, traditional balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbianogrape juice and used as a condiment. Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume which is then fermented with a slow ageing process which concentrates the flavours. The flavour intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated.
It is highly valued by modern chefs and gourmet food lovers. Commercial-grade balsamic vinegar is used in salad dressings, dips, marinades, reductions, and sauces.
Parmigiano-Reggiano – Parmesan Cheese:
Parmigiano is a hard granular cheese. It is named after the producing areas, which comprise the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Parmigiano is commonly grated over pasta dishes, stirred into soups and risottos, and eaten on its own. It is often shaved or grated over other dishes like salads.
Slivers and chunks of the hardest parts of the crust are sometimes simmered in soup. They can also be roasted and eaten as a snack.
Vino – The Wine
Italy is one of the largest producers of wine today and is home to the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Grapes are grown in almost every Italian province and the country excels in the amount of vineyards currently being used for wine-making.
Each region produces their own wines some of this include:
- Catarratto – Sicily
- Fiano – Grown on the south-west
- Moscato – Piedmont
- Corvino – Veneto
- Negroamaro – Meaning ‘black and bitter’ comes from Puglia
- Sagrantino – Native to Umbria
Focaccia – Italian Bread:
Focaccia is a flat oven-baked bread product similar in style and texture to pizza dough. Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil, salt, sometimes herbs, and may at times be topped with onion, cheese and meat. It might also be flavoured with a number of vegetables. Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals; a base for pizza, or as sandwich bread.
The word “gelato” simply means “frozen,” so it can be (and is) used for more than just Italian ice cream. Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream, and sugar, and flavoured with fruit and nut purees and other flavourings. It is generally lower in fat, but higher in sugar than other styles of ice cream. Gelato is much denser and flavourful than factory-made ice cream since there’s less air churned into the mixture. The best gelato is made without preservatives, so it has a shorter shelf-life.
Of all the uniquely Sardinian dishes, this is probably the best known on the rest of the Italian peninsula. These were traditionally eaten around Easter or Christmas but are now found year-round. Seada is a Sardinian dessert. It is prepared by deep-frying semolina dumplings with a filling of Pecorino cheese in olive oil or lard and is served covered with honey or sugar.
Many places now incorporate and import variations of the Italian cuisine including America, South Africa, Libya, Europe, Britain, etc. and India is not an exception too. Italian cuisine in India is moving beyond pizza and pasta and slowly, but surely, casual Italian food has taken over.
At Gogrub, we wanted to add some Italian quintessence in our exotic snacks range and consequently came into being our very famous Honey Chilli Balsamic Peanuts, Italian yumminess of balsamic vinegar with good old style peanuts. Trust us they are heavenly!
Also read Food travel through Thailand, the first chapter of Gogrub’s food travel series.