When you think of Italian food, you would probably never imagine that Italy consists of twenty different regions, each with its own highly distinctive cuisine.
There is simply no one way to make an Italian dish. Every town or village across the country will make a dish in a different and unique way and have their very own speciality dish that they are immensely proud of.
Just as dialects and traditions differ across the different regions of a country, so too does its cuisine. What is traditionally eaten in a region will have been greatly affected by historical, climactic and geographical variants. Some areas are close to borders with other nations and absorb some of their influence, other sit on the coast and some are landlocked and surrounded by mountains. Some regions are hot and sizzling under the Mediterranean sun all year round, whilst others experience harsher winters and snowfall.
Italy is surprisingly small, less than half the size of the state of Texas. However, it packs a culinary punch in terms of influence across the world, thanks to its long history. For a taste of Italy without getting your plates dirty, consider a visit to an Italian Restaurant Dublin like http://www.toscanarestaurant.ie/
From the time of the fall of the Roman Empire until the 19th century, Italy was made up of independent states, regions and republics that spent most of their time highly wary of and preventing encroachment from neighbouring states. The unification, in historical terms, happened very recently in 1861 and this helps to explain why each region has maintained its own very unique and individual culinary culture.
Incredibly, when travelling through Italy, it is possible to enjoy a dish that is much loved in one town or village, only to find that a few miles away, nobody has ever heard of it. Therefore, it can be argued that there is no such thing as Italian cuisine per se. Rather Italian food is made up of a number of distinct cuisines, each with individual cooking methods, choice of ingredients and preferred flavours.
There are general tendencies that align roughly with regional borders. For example, areas in the north tend to eat dishes with more rice and polenta. In the south, it’s more common to see people cooking entirely with olive oil, almost never using butter. However, there are also some very specific regional differences. For example, some recipes are only made in particular cities, such as braised goat, which is only cooked in Campi, Tuscany.
Perhaps what is most loved about Italian food is its sheer diversity. Food choices, recipes and cooking techniques vary so greatly from one region to another, that you’re guaranteed an incredible meal wherever you are. Every unique dish has its own history and significance, some recipes being more than one thousand years old!