No matter what country you visit you can be sure of one thing: There will be an Italian restaurant.
Italian food is popular everywhere. And while French cuisine is considered the paragon of sophistication, Italian dishes are equally delicious but more approachable and popular.
Why is Italian food so revered around the world? There are at least four good reasons, as you are about to discover.
Italy is far from a uniform country. To begin with, the differences between North and South can be remarkable. But every city (even every small town) has a distinct character, dialect, and, of course, local dishes.
The first consequence of this variety is that the number of local cuisines and ingredients is astounding. There’s a lot to choose from!
The second consequence is that this diversity prepares Italian cuisine for exportation. If pizza, a signature Naples delicacy, can triumph in Milan (an industrial city and in some ways the polar opposite of Naples), then it’s ready to take over the world.
If you ask Italians what their most important trait is, they’ll probably say their imagination. And they may be right. From art to football and design, Italians always manage to find an original angle or a different way to do things.
This ability extends to the kitchen, where Italians strike the right balance between simplicity and creativity. Take risotto alla Milanese, for example. This creamy rice dish is not really difficult to make, but the unexpected addition of saffron takes it to another, almost legendary, level
A Cuisine For the Less Wealthy
Historically, peasants and the less wealthy have led the charge in Italian cuisine. In a previous post, we learned how aristocrats were afraid to consume tomato because they thought it might be toxic, but the poor embraced it and made it a hit. This revolution from the bottom up is a pattern we see often in Italian food, and a factor that primes Italian cuisine for popularity: its dishes are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and versatile.
Foreign But Familiar
Something funny happens with Italian cuisine: It’s both foreign and familiar. This happens because many Italian dishes are the result of the adaptation of non-Italian ingredients. For example, Italians learned from the Turks how to appreciate coffee, which is an essential part of tiramisu. Tomatoes were originally a Mexican product, but Italian cuisine as we understand it today would be unthinkable without them.
Italians borrow, adapt, and invent, and when their culinary creations reach other countries, they feel both surprising and familiar—the secret recipe for success.
Learn More About Italian Food
Are you interested in learning more about Italian food? You are in the right place. At Chef Gourmet we know good food, and we love to share that knowledge. These are some previous posts you may find interesting:
- 5 Reasons why pasta is amazing
- Marinara: the Story behind the legendary Italian sauce
- The amusing stories behind pasta names
- Zucchini, from Italy with love
Try Our Italian Dishes!
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