Many people think that Italian cuisine only includes pasta dishes, such as spaghetti and lasagna, and minestrone soup. However, visitors to this country soon realize that Italians enjoy a wide variety of foods. The Italians cook a diverse selection delicious dishes using innovative techniques, your grandmother never dreamed of.

Italy has nineteen distinct regions with their own cuisine. Additionally, the cuisine of this area changes with the weather. Because Italians prize fresh ingredients, summer cuisine differs greatly from winter cuisine. Beautiful ripe fruits and vegetables are found on most Italian tables. Additionally, a variety of artesian bread is served with each meal.

Southern Italian Cuisine

Sothern Italy’s cuisine is very different than other regions. This region of the country incorporates fish into their cuisine, resulting in lighter and healthier fare. The use of virgin olive oil helps make their diet healthy. In fact, numerous studies have shown Southern Italians are some of the healthiest people on the planet.

Northern Italian Foods

Americans are more familiar with the cuisine of Northern Italy. This region of Italy uses rich white sauces and cheese in their cuisine. Although Americans are familiar with this region’s cuisine, they may be surprised by the different options and the uniqueness of flavor in Northern Italy.

The complex rich flavors and complicated cooking methods set this area apart. Northern Italians uses richer ingredients than the traditional spaghetti and meatballs Americans are used to enjoying. Italians love their spices! However, spices are only used to enhance the natural flavor found in their ingredients. This technique is contrary to how many view Italian cuisine. Those who think that Italians load their dishes with spices have never visited Italy.

How Seasons Affect Italian Cuisine

The type of foods the Italians serve depend on the season. For this reason, a plethora of spices is not needed to flavor their dishes. The numerous types of pasta, sauces and meats are flavorful; therefore, the only spices used to flavor their dishes are the ones that enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients. However, Northern Italians do tend to incorporate more spices in their cuisine compared to their counterparts, the Southern Italians.

Regional Characteristics of Italy

Because Italy has 19 distinct regions, there is no standard dish that all Italians cook. Instead, each region has its own unique flavor and style of cuisine. This is because the regions’ cuisine is based on the fruits and vegetables grown there as well as the animals raised in the region.

Although there are 19 distinct and separate types of cuisine in Italy, travelers are likely to find a familiar dish or two in each area. Italian cuisine is made using simple techniques and fresh ingredients found in the region. Italian cuisine is enjoyed by people from around the world each day.