From the early Middle Ages (starting from A.D. 500) to the late 19th century, Italy consisted of separate republics. Each republic had its cooking customs, also known as culinary customs.
These varying cooking practices were passed down from generation to generation. This contributed to the diversity of Italian cuisine and food and its neighboring countries.
When one thinks about going to an Italian restaurant, a simple Italian food image that comes into a person’s mind is pasta, pizza, or gelato. The thought is correct, but it includes a very narrow part of Italian food and cuisine.
Italian Food and Cuisine (Brief History)
The history of Italian food and cuisine expands over time and space. It is shaped by over three thousand years of cross-cultural currents of people and different cultures.
The history includes Etruscans, the Greeks, the Roman, and many more. After the decline of the great Roman Empire, the peninsula split into many regions; the regions defined themselves through dialect and their food.
After the unification of Italy in the year 1861, these regions kept their unique identities in culinary specialties. Diversity in Italian food and cuisine was not only due to its cultural differences but also due to its climate changes.
From the chilly Alps to Sicily’ sizzling shores, it is no surprise that the soil of that area can grow a range of ingredients. That is why Italian food and cuisine consist of simple and locally grown ingredients.
Italian recipes went famous in the late 19th and early 20th century when Italy was suffering from poverty and the effects of the First World War. Mass immigration of Italians took place, and they went to the United States of America.
One of the first Italian gastronomic traditions that gained popularity was a pizza brought by Neapolitan immigrants who came from the south of Italy.
Panino or Italian sub also got its popularity at the same time. Basic Italian ingredients became available outside Italy when they exported these ingredients in the late 80s when the Mediterranean Food revolution took place.
Roman roots that influenced the Italian cuisine and food came to Britain in 43 A.D. when Claudius & his troops landed on the South Coast of Britain. This was the first time when brits tasted the peninsula’s cuisine.
The Celtic Britons enjoyed wine, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, and dishes that Roman imported, but the same cuisine sprouted in Italy due to this influence never came to fruition on this Nordic island with much different climate, history, and culture.
In the 80s the Italian restaurants were opened in the U.K. owned by Italian immigrants, which became popular by selling the romantic image of La Dolce Vita.
Soon it became a trend to use Italian ingredients, and supermarkets imported Italian ingredients and sold these ingredients by themselves. Even today the Italian food continues to evolve, and most of the changes take place outside Italy.
Most of the chefs in America has combined classic Italian dishes with American cuisine and took the Italian food and cuisine to a whole new world. The best and proper way to get a full idea about Italian food is to get out and taste it.