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Friday, July 12, 2024
The happiness that food can arouse is an endlessly renewable resource and has the capacity to outlast every other drive that propels our lives. (Marcella Hazan, Marcella says…, 2004)

The major differences in the cooking of Northern, Central, and Southern Italy have been described by culinary historians and flood writers using words like mangiapolenta (polenta eaters) for the north, mangiafagioli (bean eaters) for the center, and mangiamaccheroni (macaroni eaters) for the south. (Mary Ann Esposito, Ciao Italia-Bringing Italy Home, 2001) Olive oil is used as a primary cooking fat in southern Italy and the butter has distinct northern Italian cooking. These differences make sense if you study the geographic and climatic diversity of the Italian regions. The south grows the olive trees and produces olive oil and the areas of north are the perfect place for the diary industry and the production of butter.

For each of the twenty regions, you are going to find a recipe.
1. Val d’Aosta
It is Italy’s smallest region. Known as “The Rome of the Alps”, this region use milk, butter and cheese, corn, buckwheat, herbs, chestnuts, mushrooms and honey…the foundations of the Valdostani. The climate doesn’t allow olive trees growing, but the Valdostani use unsalted butter and lard from pig in their foods.
Click here to see the recipe Costolette alla Valdostana
2. Piedmont

The name Piedmont means a pie dei monti (at the foot of the mountains). Almost half of the region is covered in mountains. Food in Piedmont often begins with as many as four antipasti, and then followed by the first course, preceded by the roast or stew. The cheeses made in Piedmont are amongst the best in Italy

Click here to see the recipe Risotto al Barolo

3. Liguria

The real Liguria is in the towns like Genoa, Portofino, Rapallo, Santa Margherita etc. Liguria, even though is a northern region cooks like the southern region, they use olive oil. Their kitchen uses vegetables, and herbs.

Click here to see the recipe Coniglio alle Mandorle e Senape


4. Lombardy

Lombardy offers to the cook a wide variety of ingredients, such as: polenta, rice, beef and veal, ham and salami, different spices etc.

Click here to see the recipe Risotto alla Milanese

5. Trentino – Alto Adige

Trentino –Alto Adige is really two regions in one. Trentino developed a cuisine linked to the mountain life. Alto Adige has a diverse tradiotion closer to Austrians and Germans.

Click here to see the recipe Omelette di Patate

6. Friuli – Venezia Giulia

The name Friuli came from the ancient name of Cividale del Friuli, Forum Juli. The name Venezia Giulia reflects the time when it belonged to the Republic of Venice. This region it is split in three areas. Its cooking is dominated by fish and seafood.

Click here to see the recipe Capesante alla Triestina

7. The Veneto

The Veneto has taken the name from the Veneti, ancient people well known for horsebreeding. The Veneto includes three zones with three distinct cuisines, but all three share a love of polenta and rice.

Click here to see the recipe Risi e Bisi

8. Emilia – Romagna

This region has two parts: the never ending plains and hills of Emilia and the mountains and coastline of Romagna. Yet as different as these parts are, they are united by the fresh egg pastas, cheeses, salty meats.

Click here to see the recipe Scaloppine di Vitello alla Bolognese


9. Tuscany

The Tuscany is landed between hills and mountains. The cuisine of Tuscany is found in the trinity of saltless bread, vegetables and olive oil.

Click here to see the recipe Ignudi

10. Umbria

Umbria is the only region in central Italy away from the sea. It has valleys and hills, mountains and lakes. It takes the name from the Umbri. Olive oil is found in almost every dish. Pork is the king of the Umbrian table.

Click here to see the recipe Pollo alla Cacciatora

11. The Marches

The Marches is a region that integrates the coastline, hills and forests. Its cuisine is varied as its dialects. The Marghiani loves pasta and bread. They love olives too; pit the olives, stuff them, fry them.

Click here to see the recipe Pizza al Formaggio di Pasqua

12. Latium

Speaking of Latium you think Rome, for the past and because Rome is the capital of the country. The ancient traditions in cuisine are kept alive. Latium use Pecorino to give flavor to the dishes. The lamb is the favorite meat of Latium.

Click here to see the recipe Bucatini all’Amatriciana

13. Abruzzo

It is one of the least populated regions in Italy. Abruzzo has combined the mountain and the sea. The result comes to two diverse cuisines. Gnocchi, ham, pig or calf are part of their cuisine, but also fish, sheep milk cheese, pasta, lamb etc.

Click here to see the recipe Pollo all’Abruzzese

14. Molise

It is the smallest region after Val d’Aosta. Handmade pasta, lamb, sheep are part of the area known as Alto Molise. The Molise’s cuisine is really two in one: the hills and the mountains cooking and the coast with the fisherman’s favorites. Molise loves pasta with vegetables and chili pepper.

Click here to see the recipe Zuppa di Pesce alla Termolese

15. Campania

Campania and Sicily share very much in the kitchen. They both like to combine anchovies, pine nuts, raisins and they offer many specialties. The area grows eggplants, beans, tomatoes, figs, citrus, walnuts, grapes, olives, apricots etc. The sea also, offers the seafood cuisine.

Click here to see the recipe Insalata di Mare

16. Apulia

Apulia and Calabria share much in the kitchen: fish and pasta and vegetables. The region grows, vegetables, especially broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplants, tomatoes etc. Apulia offers nice variety of cheese and meat too. Every meal is sprinkled with the delicious taste of olive oil.

Click here to see the recipe Pepata di Cozze al Limone

17. Basilicata

Basilicata’s people are also known as Lucani, after the Lyki an Anatolian tribe. Wheat, grapes and olives are the agricultural products of the region. The families use vegetables, pork, and goat’s milk cheeses. The people of Basilicata are known as sausage-makers.

Click here to see the recipe Agnello e Funghi al Forno

18. Calabria

Calabria has the longest coastline in the Italian peninsula. Calabria cooking includes fish, spicy dishes, pasta, bread, lasagna etc. The calabrians are known as sausage-makers. The region grows very sweet clementines.

Click here to see the recipe Tonno al Salmoriglio

19. Sicily

Sicily is the largest island in Mediterranean. The area is an ideal terrain to cultivate olives, wheat and grapes. Pasta and bread are the basics in the cuisine of Sicily, and vegetables, cheese are delicious companions of the Sicilian dishes.

Click here to see the recipe Biscottini di Mandorla

20. Sardinia

Sardinia is devoted to animals like sheep. The cuisine is a pastoral one. Lamb, semolina pasta, bread, sheep milk’s cheese are basics of the Sardinian cooking.

Click here to see the recipe Aragosta Arrosto

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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.


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