There is no better place to try pizza than Italy, a native land of numerous intricate recipes and dishes. Pizza as one could recall is an obvious trademark of this European state. Fortunately, Italian cuisine has many other things of must-try nature. Do you remember Julia Roberts’s enjoying luxury of Italian dishes in Eat, Prey, Love? Well, why should not get acquainted with all the fancy exquisites Italian culinary art offers?
First of all, travelers should know that world-known modern pizza has come to its present state from focaccia – everyday food of peasants and warriors of antiquity. To date, it resembles a pizza without any filling and is often served in local restaurants. Pizza Napoletana, in contrast, is commonly recognized as classic Italian pizza, being cooked and served worldwide. Its two main kinds, Marinara and Margarita, have interesting stories of origin. The first one was a favorite dish of local fishmen, while the second one was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy. According to the legends, while travelling to Naples she was quite astonished with a meal of Naples peasants that, of course, happened to be pizza.
And what about pasta? It is no doubt a crown jewel of Italian gastronomy, as its recipes have been preserved for centuries, in particular, since the times of ancient Roman Empire. Traditionally, foreigners may find a wide range of pasta dishes, most of which might be divided into three main groups: pasta lunga (long), pasta corta (short) and pasta ripiena (with some filling). It is interesting to know that modern pasta differs a lot from the very first recipes. It was cooked in milk, beef or honey broth. To uncover all the secrets of Italian pasta, it is really exciting to pay a visit to Museo Nazionale delle Paste Alimentari and, in addition, to learn some pasta-cooking tricks!
It is merely impossible not to mention Italian cheeses! As in France, cheese is one of the most delicious things to try, which goes either with other dishes or is served freestanding. Widely distributed Gorgonzola is produced in Lombardy and Piedmont regions, while delicious Mozzarella has been made on south since ancient Romans. Other famous Italian cheeses include Mascarpone from Milan, Parmesan from Parma-Bologna lands and Ricotta widely manufactured in the country.
Mascarpone, by the way, is usually associated with a world-known desert Tiramisu, which originated precisely in Italy. For the first time it was served in the 17th century in Siena in honor of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de ‘Medici. Widely known as a sweet tooth, he popularized tiramisu all over Italy and even abroad, when it traveled to Venice, leading trading point in Europe at the time. Tiramisu was nicknamed as “Zuppa del duca” (Duke’s soup). One can guess, it was of royal fame in contrast to its modern popularity as one of the most luxuriant and fancy deserts in the world, made of Mascarpone of 55% fat content exclusively.
One more popular desert in Italy is an ice-cream, or the so-called gelato. At present, there are about 500 kinds of gelato, served in special restaurants – gelaterias. Italian ice cream differs from other kinds with hardly whipped structure, mild flavor and delicate texture. Besides, it usually has no frozen fruits or industrial adding; gelato manufacture often appears to be a family business, lasting for decades.