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Italian food

Italian food

Italian food characteristics

Italian food is a simple one, with few ingredients needed to prepare a delicious dish so it is rather the food quality than its preparation what is the focus of Italian chefs. There is a large regional diversity but some Italian dishes which started in a region, became also popular in the whole country.

Origins and history of the Italian food

Its history is more than two thousand years old, going back to the Roman empire where the food and the art of this preparation were very important. After the time of the Roman empire, the regional diversity started in play an important role in the further development of the Italian cuisine. Different regions developed their own way of cooking and some dishes became known due to the region of their origin. One of most worldwide known examples is spaghetti Bolognese, originated in the Italian city of Bologna. The same for the famous pizza napoletana, from the city of Naples, made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Maritime adventures of city states, such as Venice or Genoa, brought to the country many new foods and spices. An important part of the Italian cuisine comes from the Mediterranean coastal areas which great choice of fish and seafood dishes. Nowadays, there are some twenty regions of Italy, with their own way of cooking.

Present day meal structure in Italy

Italian meal structure is typical for the Western Europe and consists of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Typical Italian breakfast consists of coffee and sweet rolls with butter and possible jam. Lunch is still considered to be the most important meal of the day and many business close during the lunch break. Dinner is typically a lighter meal then lunch. The traditional Italian meal has several steps, where most important one are: antipasto (appetizer), primo (first course) – typically non-meat, secondo (second course) – typically meat or fish, insalata (salad) and dolce (dessert). A strong coffee is drank at the end, with possible a glass of digestive.

Find more on Italian antipasto.

Typical Italian dishes:

Pasta dishes: spaghetti, lasagna, linguine, fettucine, cannelloni, farfalle, penne

Other dishes: pizza, risotto, bruschetta, minestrone soup, veal scallops, ossobuco, tiramisu, panna cotta 

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Popular meats in Italy:

beef, pork, veal, lamb, chicken, turkey, wild boar.

Popular fish and seafood in Italy:

Tuna, swordfish, sea bass, cod, salmon, anchovies, sardines, shrimp, prawn, crab, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, mussels.

Popular vegetables in Italy:

Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, garlic, lettuce, spinach, onions, mushrooms, hot peppers, sweet peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, fennel, artichokes.

Popular fruits in Italy:

Grapes, berries, oranges, lemons, cherries, apples, pears, plums, figs, melons, watermelons.

Popular herbs and spices in Italy:

Basil, bay leaf, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, juniper, coriander, nutmeg, saffron.

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