Ever feel like going out to eat but don’t decide if you want chicken, fish, meat ,or pasta? Maybe a restaurant that offers a little bit of everything is the answer – but just how good are such choices? Italian food offers a broad spectrum of choices and the best Italian food can be found at smaller, privately owned restaurants – the ones that should not be missed!
Cuisine as Diverse as the Land Itself
Italy is a country in Europe that spreads from the Alps in the north to the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. Its many different regions, from mountains to islands, lend their own specialties to what is possibly the world’s most varied diet. Different regional climates – from the snowy, mountainous north to the tropical, hot Mediterranean in the south – offer everything from fruits and nuts, to small and large livestock and everything in between.
Italy is home to the best food curing and preserving methods. Curing methods led to the development of traditional, regional dishes as the first tomatoes were sun-dried and the first meats were salt-cured.
Consider the following foods that are just some of the many different Italian foods available:
Pasta – Renowned for hundreds of types of pasta, Italian food is certainly much more than pasta. That being said, pasta is made of every feasible suitable ingredient and formed into just about every shape and size imaginable – the possibilities are endless – proving there is much more to Italian cooking than just spaghetti and macaroni!
Fresh and Cured Meat – Whether eaten as part of an antipasto, in a sandwich, or as part of the main course, Italian meats are flavorful and bold, adding a boost to almost any recipe. Beef, chicken, and pork are used fresh in many different dishes as well as cured to create different flavors.
Cheese – Italy is the home of magnificently delicious cheeses, using not only cow’s milk but also sheep and goat’s milk along with other hardy animals from the northern parts of the country. From the hard, aged flavors to soft, mild ones, Italian cheeses are an integral part of every menu. There are many more than just the common cheeses to try; consider Pecorino Toscana, Asiago, and Fontina. These lesser known flavors can really add to a complete and delicious Italian food experience.
Fruits and Vegetables – Although tomatoes appear in many Italian dishes, there is no shortage of vegetables in Italian cooking. From many different types and flavors of tomatoes to other root, bush, and vine plants as well as mushrooms, fruits and nuts – the produce fields in Italy are a cornucopia of flavor.
Wine – Most think of France or California as the best wine regions; however, Italy is home to some of the biggest and best vineyards and wine regions. Italians love wine, whether in cooking or drinking. There are types and styles that differ greatly from those an average wine drinker may have experienced. Moscato, Malvasia, and Pecorino name only a few – and all go great with Italian food.
Coffee and Dessert – What could make any Italian meal perfect? Coffee and dessert of course – and Italy is famous for both. Don’t stop with just espresso, cannoli, and Italian ice – although all are great dessert choices. Gelato, mascarpone, and other pastry specialties should not be missed.
There is an endless palette of tastes available when it comes to Italian food, making it one of the most colorful, well-loved cooking styles all around the world. Don’t settle for ordinary one-taste-fits-all cooking. Enjoy Italian cuisine at a local restaurant – and discover that there really is something for everyone on the menu!