The pleasures and love of Italian cuisine are known the world over. Italian cookery and recipes vary from region to region, and on the whole it is very healthy and nutritious, using natural ingredients that are in season. Cooking and eating habits can vary from region to region, even from village to village.
Each place has their own unique dishes and ingredients, and even the traditional dishes that are so popular all over Italy are cooked in different ways depending which region you go to. For example, if you eat lasagna from Naples, it doesn’t have the béchamel sauce as you would expect in the more traditional lasagna. It also has small meatballs (or polpette)as opposed to mince, and also salami and eggs. The different regional cooking depends on a number of factors, not only as to what ingredients are most abundant each region, but also historical factors. Naples, for example, was founded by the Greeks, and this had some influence on the Neapolitan way of life.
Some original and unique types of ingredients and cooking originated from the North; Balsamic vinegar (Modena), pesto (Liguria), and tortellini (Bologna) to name but a few. Also dishes in the North tend to be a bit ‘heavier’ than that in the South.
Central Italy is very diverse, and such regions as Rome, Florence and have little in common. Some examples to be found all around central Italy are Porchetta (pig stuffed with rosemary and fennel), pork, lamb, black truffles and porcini mushrooms.
Cuisine in the South is characterized by the abundance use of fish, aubergines, peppers, olives, the spicy ingredient pepperoncino, and first and foremost the tomato, which has a huge industry in Naples. In the Naples and Campania regions, there is some Spanish and French influence to be found in the cookery. Pizza and pasta are especially popular and traditional, the Pizza Margherita having been born in Naples. In Apulia, they have a diet rich in fish (mussels and oysters being a specialty)and vegetables. Although the cuisine varies greatly all over Italy, there is one thing you can be sure of, and that is enjoying your food!