Tradition, quality and passion: Italians do not cook and eat just for nourishment. We reveal five secrets why Italian gastronomy is the best!

At the table, Italians demand quality food, protect food identity, build and pass on traditions and celebrate the importance of eating well. Find out how they do!

Cooking is much more than eating. Cooking is poetry.

Heinz Beck - Chef tedesco stellato (German Michelin-starred chef)

5. Inimitable recipes

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All Italians get horrified when they see the most famous national recipes sadly reduced to finished products (and made with entirely wrong ingredients!) at the supermarket. Do not tease them: traditional recipes are pieces of their heart. Do not tell an Italian that you make carbonara with cream or add mushrooms to Neapolitan ragout. The greatness of Italian gastronomy lies in people attachment to traditional products and preparations. For an Italian, cooking means to love; it is poetry. That's what makes Italian recipes the most appreciated and (seldom well) copied in the world.

4.The Mediterranean Diet

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Since ancient times, food has been a way of life for Mediterranean populations, where physical well-being and conviviality were the foundations. Thus, over the centuries, the peoples of this part of the world have handed down values, practices, traditions and culinary knowledge to each other, until today when they have fulfilled their inherent mission to create a philosophy of life that starts at the table: the Mediterranean Diet. The most popular dietary style globally is a Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2010. Based on respect for the land and biodiversity, the idea of the Mediterranean Diet also includes cultural aspects such as hospitality and intercultural dialogue. Thanks to the immense range of products and the deep connection people have with food, Italy is one of the pillars of the Mediterranean Diet. For this reason, its cuisine is among the most loved in the world. 

Italian way of fooding

The Italian way of fooding should not be understood as a rigid diet to follow. Our land, pastures and seas provide all the essential products of the food pyramid of the Mediterranean Diet: plenty of fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, extra virgin olive oil, legumes and meat. However, food is intended as a healthy contribution to the body and mind. Let's not forget that Italians are greedy people. So, an exception to the rule is always allowed!

3.Made in Italy: flavour, quality and uniqueness

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Made in Italy products represents the excellence of Italian food and wine production, one of the most exported globally and guaranteed thanks to brands precisely placed to indicate the goods in this range. With almost 300 DOP, IGP and STG  products and over 500 DOCG, DOC and IGT wines, Italy is the European country with the most significant number of food and wine products with Protected Origin and Protected Indication status. Before listing some of them, let us clarify the meaning of these acronyms.

PDO, PGI and TSG

  • The Italian acronym DOP (English PDO) indicates products with a Protected Designation of Origin. This mark serves to guarantee and protect the quality of the product concerning the territorial exclusivity of its production. 
  • The Italian acronym IGP (English PGI) refers to products with a Protected Geographical Indication. These products possess a certain quality that depends exclusively on their geographical origin, which means that at least one production step must occur within a defined geographical area. 
  • STG (English TSG) stands for Traditional Speciality Guaranteed products. This label protects goods obtained by specific (i.e. different from other similar products) and traditional (i.e. existing for at least 20 years) production methods. Unlike PDO and PGI marks, TSG products only concern the production quality of the food, while the geographical area is not a necessary element for obtaining the label. 

Food farming products

Among the nationally and worldwide most famous and best-loved Made in Italy agri-food products we mention: the balsamic vinegar of Modena IGP, the blood orange of Sicily IGP, cantucci toscani IGP, mozzarella di bufala Campana DOP, the red onion of Tropea IGP, the Grana Padano DOP, the Mortadella Bologna IGP, the lemon of Sorrento IGP, the Pizza Napoletana STG, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, pistachio di Bronte DOP, Prosciutto di Parma DOP, Amatriciana STG, gorgonzola cheese DOP, Speck Alto Adige IGP

DOC, DOCG e IGT

  • The acronym DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Controlled Designation of Origin). This label indicates the area of the grapes harvested and used to make a specific wine characterised by precise organoleptic qualities and alcohol content.
  • DOCG means Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin). This label relates to the identification of the geographical origin only of certain wines of particular value that have been classified as DOC for at least five years.
  • IGT refers to Indicazione Geografica Tipica (Typical Geographical Indication). This label indicates the best table wines obtained only from wine production areas of significant size and broader than DOC and DOCG wines. The names of regions or locations used for DOCG or DOC are excluded from the IGT designation. 

DOC and DOCG designations fall under the European PDO category, while IGT falls under PGI.

Wine products

Here are some of the wines categories with these labels: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC, Barbera del Monferrato Superiore DOCG, Chianti DOCG, Lambrusco Mantovano DOC, Paestum IGT, Vigneti delle Dolomiti / Weinberg Dolomiten IGT.

Food always comes to those who love to cook!

Ratatouille - Film (2007)

2.National culinary traditions

Favoured by a geographical position of excellence that gives it the privilege of a natural lushness of products, Italy has developed and protected this wealth. Culinary traditions have been handed down from generation to generation and have become real national symbols.

Green: extra virgin olive oil

A condiment par excellence on Italian tables and one of the primary products of the Mediterranean Diet food pyramid, extra virgin olive oil is Italy's green gold. Many Italian regions practice olive cultivation, particularly in central and southern ones. From these plants, a unique product is born, extracted only from the pressing of local olives. An ancient process perfected over time has given rise to one of the leading products of Made in Italy.

White: flour

Ask an Italian what is a must-have item on their table, and they will undoubtedly answer pasta and bread! Even today, many families keep alive the tradition of eating homemade bread and pasta (even if not daily). Water, flour, salt and yeast for the bread: the smell it gives off during baking (especially in ancient wood-fired ovens) is inexplicable. From North to South, Italy 'churns out' many different types of bread, distinguished by their shape and the type of flour used in their preparation. On the other hand, homemade pasta is prepared with wheat flour and water (classic homemade pasta), or fresh eggs and flour - generally 00, but this can vary according to taste and needs - for homemade egg pasta. It may sound simple, but the process requires a lot of care. You must pay attention when dosing the ingredients and rolling out the dough. Whatever shape you choose, short, long, thick, thin, for lasagne, stuffing, broths, and full-bodied sauces, homemade pasta makes the Italian table!

Red: the tomato

Tomato grows in different varieties throughout Italy. It is the basis of many typical Italian dishes that have made Italy famous worldwide. Just think of pasta with tomato sauce and the highly acclaimed pizza. Therefore, Italians feel a visceral attachment to this vegetable and the tradition of homemade tomato sauce. Every year, during the summer months, tomatoes bloom in Italy and are harvested. Some are used for direct consumption, while others make the famous tomato sauce in the winter months. However, it is not simply a matter of stocking up. Making homemade tomato sauce reunites the whole family. The older family members show the children and the younger ones all the steps involved, from washing and cooking to bottling. And so, a wonderful tradition is passed on.

1.Italianness at the table

For Italians, the table becomes a moment of glee and sharing. Food values are passed on, and people learn the pleasure of taste and their culture is transmitted through the meal. For an Italian, being at the table also means family, joy and love. Food becomes an instrument of communication

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