It is easy to think that some pasta, some marinara sauce, a crust of Italian bread and a glass of wine is the beginning and end of Italian cuisine, especially if you grew up in the United States. When an American conjures up an idea of “Italian cuisine,” often what comes to mind is pasta, red sauce, and garlic bread. There is much more than red sauce and starch on the agenda for most Italian regional cuisines.
All Italian cooking relies on olive oil, grains and fresh, seasonal produce, but each region has its own preferences and specialties.
Northern Italy, which boasts the country’s highest standard of living and the richest diet, also produces one-third of Italy’s best wines. Central Italy, in contrast, tends to favor artichokes, peas and black and white truffles. These six central regions prefer pasta and lamb over the rice and beef associated with the North. Tuscany is a region of Italy that takes up a small piece of the western coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Since a large border of the Tuscan region is coastal, seafood plays a large role in the regional cuisine of Tuscany. Sardinia has such a rich and various history that it bears little resemblance to the traditional idea of Italian cooking. Very few Sardinian meals do not incorporate lamb, a rich resource in the mountainous inland of the island of Sardinia. In addition to the lamb’s meat, a favorite of Sardinian chefs, very few meals are complete without the company of sheep’s milk and wild fennel. Looking at any Sardinian recipe, it is easy to see that the cuisine of this hilly island is a veritable stone soup of the many different cultures that have passed through the island over the years.
Even though Italy produces close to seven million bottles of wine every year, the wine makers have kept to the same high quality standard of making wine that has a legacy of over four thousand years. A person could easily spend an entire lifetime studying this grapes and wine of the Italian country side, especially when these wines are associated with certain foods in there respective areas.
Major red grapes are Sangiovese, planted particularly in Tuscany and Umbria, this is the main grape in the making of Chianti and the ever popular Super-Tuscan wines. Nebbiolo, explicit to the Piedmont district, this varity of grape produces two of infamous Italian most wines: Barolo and Barbaresco. Barbera grape runs side by side with Sangiovese as the most popular grape variety in Italy. The fruity flavours are inclined to be more distinct than in other grapes, it is for this reason that this wine is excellent when enjoyed in the summer.
Italian Whites are Pinot Grigio. This grape in particylary has been haled all around the globe. The pinot grigio grape is not as flavourable as it French cousin. Trebbiano grape, is very familiar in Italy, it has also suffered from casual growing habits. This white grape variety is known for its production of lower class white wines, it is known for its proclivity for producing bland and highly crisp wines as well. Tocai Friulano with the attributes of freshness and bitterness associated with Italian grapes, it can also bring rich and full textures that are more intricate than is usual for whites of this class. It grows for the most part in the Friuli province. Also there are Verdicchio and Vernaccia.