Italian cuisine – a rich century-old tradition
Modern Italian cuisine is among the most popular ones in the world. First of all, national Italian cuisine is very delicious and varied. It consists of a number of dishes that are traditional for certain areas but over time they have been made popular in all regions of Italy.
Some dishes also have variations – not only from different areas but sometimes even from the same area, which differ in their taste properties. In such cases, in the list of national Italian cuisine they are presented with a name indicating the region or some other particularity of the dish.
The Italians themselves are particularly keen on traditional Italian cuisine as one of their national emblems. They not only have international culinary academies like the ones in Tuscany, for example, but also many cooking schools with licenses for traditional Italian cuisine where foreigners are also taught.
And when it comes to gelato – the unique home-made Italian ice cream which differs from all other ice creams and has over 200 varieties, the Italians have even founded a special Institute. It is close to Bologna and it teaches over 12,000 students from all over the world.
Separately, there are shorter courses for foreigners – both for tourists and more specialized in which even master chefs coming from other continents are enrolled. In Bulgaria, original Italian cuisine with Italian products is prepared by chef Abdi at the Leonardo Italian restaurant in Bansko.
Over the centuries traditional Italian cuisine has intertwined various cooking practices and styles adapted to local customs and tastes.
As it is known, the lands here have been inhabited since ancient times – before they fell under the rule of Rome, the Etruscans were a developed civilization. Rome itself has been drawn from the culture of different peoples for centuries and this, naturally, also includes culinary art. At different times in different regions there was Greek influence, Arabic, French, Spanish and Austrian.
All this, the Italians have bent it through their culture, and, in the area of gastronomy, the result is the unique Italian cuisine.
No complicated preparation, with special flavor
When speaking of Italy, it should be taken into account that today’s territories were united only in the 19th century. This explains to a great extent their strong distinctiveness, including culinary.
In addition to all the other features, the geographical location is also influenced the national Italian cuisine. Italy has virtually no regions without an outlet on the sea. This defines a cuisine with a variety of fish soups and dishes and seafood delicacies.
Particularly, the dishes with sardine and turbot, as well as sword-fish, squid and calamari. With good reason they compete with pizza and pasta. Their preparation also has peculiarities by region.
There is an extremely big variety of emblematic pasta and pizzas. The pasta in its hundreds of variants comes with vegetables, ground meat, sausages, meat, pates, and fish. There is also a big variety of pizzas: the Neapolitan-style which is believed to have set the beginning of the Italian pizza includes tomatoes, cheese, sardines and, of course, spices.
In traditional Italian cuisine there are no extravagant dishes made with complex combinations. Preparation is simple focusing on the taste of the main products. At the same time, however, a variety of spices and sauces are used that add many flavors and aromas.
Another feature of national Italian cuisine is that a lot of vegetables are used – for salads, garnish, soups, pasta stuffing. The most used ones are tomatoes, peppers, spinach, peas, green beans, eggplant, and asparagus. Real specialties are made of zucchini by rolling them in flour and frying them in added sauces and spices. Tomatoes as salad are traditionally combined with mozzarella; fresh basil is used for flavor.
Among the meats, pork is popular in the southern and northern parts, usually grilled, with vegetables or a sauce. There are, of course, different sausages. In the central parts, Sicily and Sardinia the traditional meat is lamb.