Italy has earned pride of place amongst nations famous for their rich cuisine. Italian cuisine has reached every nook and corner of the planet transcending borders. It has left behind all major and minor international cuisines in the race for supremacy. Situation is such that it is hard to find a nation in this world where Italian food is not available everywhere. One can find Italian food with utter ease not only in towns or cities but even in small hamlets and villages of countless countries too far apart from Italy. Five star hotels serve Italian food and street food stalls serve Italian food, few cuisines enjoy such universality. Italian cuisine is unrivaled in versatility also. Quality is sustained from starters to main course. If you need quick bite you can trust Italian cuisine, if you need wholesome dinner you can trust Italian cuisine, if you are a vegetarian Italian cuisine is meant for you and if you are non-vegetarian Italian cuisine is suitable for you.
Tastes and eating habits vary region wise in Italy
Italian cuisine is varied with different regions of Italy having their own special cuisine and eating habits. Variance is even in cooking styles. Italian cuisine has been influenced by changing world order. Italian restaurants offer dishes that have retained Roman era tastes and dishes that taste strikingly different from traditional dishes of Italian cuisine. Origins of Italian cuisine can be traced back to Roman Empire era about 2000 years ago. Even a cookbook from first century BC is in possession of Italians. After fall of Roman Empire Italy got divided into different independent states resulting in development of diversity in Italian cuisine. This is why tastes and culinary traditions vary region wise in Italy.
Italian dinner can last for four hours. Family dinners are utilized for enjoying the company of loved ones. Italian dinner starts with Aperitivo but it is basically combination of light drinks and small portions of food consumed before the real dinner starts. After Aperitivo comes Antipasto. Appetizers are served in Antipasto. Antipasto is followed by Primi piatti, Secondi piatti, Contorni, Insalata and Dolce. Appetizers consists of meats, cheeses and even vegetarian dips. In Primi piatti pasta, risotto, soup, polenta, casserole etc. are served. Secondi piatti will include various kinds of meat and fish. For example – sausage, veal, steak, rabbit, chicken and lamb. Contorni is side dish served with secondi piatti. Potatoes, salad, Romano, broccoli and chicory are most sought-after Contorni. Insalata is more or less salad and at times is omitted. Dolce is dessert and inseparable part of Italian meal.
Top Italian dishes
Pizza and Pasta are probably most famous Italian dishes but Italian cuisine is not just that. Risotto, Salami (cured meat), Polenta, Dolce and Gelato are popular Italian dishes. Sea food is extensively consumed in Italy. Sweet dishes like tiramisu, affogata and torta de riso are quite popular. Coffee is a beverage loved by Italians.