How many of you have thought about casting aside your everyday life? Just going away to live in a villa in Tuscany and soak up the sun-dappled views as the wine flows and the pasta bowl seems to never empty? That dream has probably been rudely interrupted by your alarm clock or your barking dog. While you can’t do much about the lack of a vista or the views, you can bring the true flavour of Italy to life.
Restaurants such as L’anima do this on a daily basis with their beautiful, taste-bud awakening menus.
Elements of Italian Food
Italian food is satisfying and bold, but it’s not heavy. It’s textural and rich and uses a well-rounded palette of flavours. Enjoying Italian cuisine is not really an intellectual experience, but an experiential one. It evokes so much more than just large plates of meatballs and chicken parmesan.
When Italian immigrants first set foot on American shores, they were not able to find their usual dried porcinis, olive oil, balsamic and prosciutto, so they changed their cuisine in order to fit what was around them. This resulted in a lot more sausage and meats in their dishes, in addition with a great helping of garlic. Thus, American-Italian cuisine was born. But never mistake that for the authentic, traditional Italian foods that will delight your taste buds!
Italian food is full of fresh produce, with protein being a secondary addition. Typical Italian meals begin with antipasti, which are made of vegetables such as mushrooms, pepperoncini and artichoke hearts served with a selection of cured meats, such as capicola and prosciutto.
Then the meal moves on a small pasta dish, which is quickly followed by a light protein such as leg of lamb. It’s simple but deliciously prepared. As the meal goes on, it becomes simpler in nature.
From the initial first bite all the way to the final one, every authentically Italian dish is made with the most basic yet flavourful ingredients. Traditional products are important when it comes to the flavours of Italy, which are based on locality and seasonality. Olive oil is considered to be the cornerstone of a lot of Italian cuisine, and then, of course, come the fresh vegetables. Onion and garlic are favourite and familiar additions to Italian cuisine, but intense green vegetables are often the main ingredients in a dish.
Balsamic vinegar finds itself one of the main players in an Italian kitchen, and you’d find it difficult to find a chef who doesn’t have a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, two of Italy’s most infamous cheeses, in reach.
Italian cuisine is a symphony of light flavours that dazzle the tongue and the stomach. Finding traditional Italian cuisine is not as difficult as you might think. Many chefs across the globe are beginning to study Italian cuisine in much more detail. This study of their original cuisine and their flavourful ingredients will surely benefit their patrons.