The foods in Italy speak of sun, music, zest for life and exuberant joy. Italians love food; for them, food is pleasure as much as nourishment. Their cooking is pretty straightforward. Italians rely in a few flavor combinations and simple cooking methods, but they also combine love, instinct and skill with their food. It shows.
Foods in Italy come a close second to those in France, still considered the embodiment of gourmet cooking in the eyes of many food lovers. Opposed to the prudent and measured French, Italians are generous with ingredients. They also know how to present a lavish table. Their outgoing personality glows when their efforts are appreciated and praise is expected.
Best foods in Italy
Pasta is the Italian food of world fame, and usually the center of attention in a meal. For a family dinner, pasta would be the main course, other side dishes around. For a formal dinner, pasta would be served just before the main course.
Italian pasta varies through the country. Big pasta tubes, like rigatoni, are preferred in the south; stuffed pasta shapes, like ravioli, are a specialty of the northern regions, while tagliatelle predominates in the center. Spaghetti is everywhere.
Antipasto - before pasta, literally - is the traditional opening for an Italian meal. It consists of pickled vegetables, salami, ham, salads, even seafood salad or other cold seafood, in small portions. Antipasto is often followed by a soup, not necessarily minestrone, which could constitute a meal by itself.
If not previously served as antipasto, a salad would appear as side dish. Italian salads are colorful, think green zucchini, bright red tomatoes, and black olives, or white mozzarella against red tomatoes sprinkled with green fresh basil. Italian salad dressing is always based on olive oil.
Though Italians use all types, veal reigns between the Italian meats. As scaloppini, roasted, stuffed chops or other recipe, there is a good chance it would be chosen as main course for a formal dinner.
Italians are also cheese loving people. Parmigiano reggiano and other strong flavored cheeses, like Grana padano or Pecorino Romano, are grated on top of pasta. Fresh fruit and soft flavored cheese put many times a fitting end to an Italian meal. They also love creamy desserts like pana cotta, cream stuffed canoli, tiramisu and, of course, ice cream.