Even unintentionally, Italian food, given our ingredients' excellence, is suitable for gourmet travellers.
Gourmet is a French term meaning gourmand. Very much in vogue in recent times to describe a particular type of cuisine and eating. A cuisine with manners and for refined palates.
Gourmet can be a dish, a chef, a restaurant, an ingredient, a food product, or the person's palate. In general, a way of describing haute cuisine or people and food with a refined taste.
Therefore, a gourmet palate means a delicate, sophisticated palate that seeks maximum satisfaction by combining genuine, particular, and refined tastes. And why might Italy be the perfect destination for the gourmet traveller? Let's find out together!
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.
How did Gourmet Cuisine come about?
The 'gourmet' food movement was born in the United States in 1980. The upper-middle-class strongly desired that fed up with the food decay that characterised the nation.
Also, in the USA, the concept of gourmet evolved again in the 2000s. With the cult of diet and healthy living, upper-middle-class consumers pay much more attention to the food they eat.
So gourmet cuisine was born in clear opposition to the concept of fast food.
Even in Italy in those years, the fast-food craze was beginning to spread, especially among young people. But what saved and still saves Italy is its cuisine. Every Italian city must have a typical restaurant, which, regardless of the gourmet concept, serves genuine, quality products.
And this is how these new travellers arrive in Italy. Not only to appreciate the magnificence of the cities of art but also to enjoy its food, appreciate the Mediterranean diet.
In short, in Italy, the term gourmet should already be identified by the excellence of Italian food.
Gourmet cuisine in Italy
Little by little, from the USA, the gourmet food movement has also arrived in Italy, welcomed with enthusiasm by Italy's top star chefs. In the Peninsula, this culinary style has been exalted to the supreme power, going to contemplate precious raw materials.
Today, therefore, when we speak of gourmet cuisine in Italy, we refer to true art! It is not limited to elaborate preparations and sophisticated presentations but also puts the quality of the product in the foreground. It must be gastronomic excellence in all respects.
Many Italian chefs have had fun reworking traditional dishes into a gourmet version using the best of our ingredients. It enhances the palate with refined flavours in a healthier perspective and without harming the body.
"Gourmet was not born to discover new foods, but to escape from those of the masses".
Even pizza becomes gourmet
When one thinks of gourmet food, one's mind inevitably goes to Michelin-starred restaurants. But Italian creativity has gone much further. So much so that in recent years even a "poor" product like pizza has become gourmet.
The art of baking has made giant strides and, thanks to increasingly refined doughs and products, has increased its value to the point of being, in some cases, an authentic gourmet dish. It would be best if you made a gourmet pizza in a refined way, with quality products and as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
Even a simple Margherita can be considered gourmet with the right ingredients, but it must prepare with selected ingredients. To make it, therefore, you will have to replace the classic tomato puree with tomatoes using typical varieties such as the Piennolo del Vesuvio tomatoes. Well combined with a Mozzarella di Bufala from Campania PDO and served with fragrant and very fresh basil.
Who is the Gourmet Traveller?
Having explained what gourmet cuisine is and why Italy is an excellent representative of it. Let's understand who our gourmet traveller is and why they should come to our beautiful country.
For the gourmet traveller or tourist, food is an experience, not just a product. As an aesthete, he prefers the uniqueness of the journey and the atmosphere.
The 'gourmet' is a person with a passion for fine food. They consider the quality of the ingredients, the mise en place and the place where enjoy the dish. They are an aesthete of food and feel eating an authentic experience to savour with all five senses.
Particularly inclined towards quality food and haute cuisine. The "gourmet tourist" is an informed and curious tourist, attentive to detail, who wants to get to know the chef and the cooking process of the dish in person.
They want to discover the flavours of the region, its history, art and culture. Still, they also want to enjoy comfort and well-being during their trip. He is the hedonist of the third millennium, who searches for the pleasure of their life's direction.
5 foods a gourmet traveller can't miss in Italy
Maybe you travellers with a refined palate have already put them in your diaries. But we at Visit Italy would like to try and give you our little recommendation of the fine Italian foods that a gourmet traveller should not miss.
5. Alba White Truffle (Piedmont)
The truffle is a fungus that lives underground in the form of a tuber. It consists mainly of water, fibre and mineral salts, organic substances supplied by the tree with which it lives in symbiosis.
The White Truffle, Tuber Magnatum Pico, is an expensive delicacy that grows mainly in Alba, in the province of Cuneo. Its harvest period is from September to January.
Every year, Alba hosts the International Fair, a showcase for Made in Italy products worldwide. Fortunately, only a few grams of this ingredient are enough to make a dish unforgettable despite its exorbitant price.
4. Bitto PDO (Lombardy)
An alpine and stable cheese, the Formaggio Grasso Valtellina, obtained the name "Bitto" and then PDO in 1995. The production is in Lombardy between June and September. It is a full-fat, cooked, semi-hard dairy product that processes raw whole cow's milk immediately after milking.
The Bitto Della Valtellina comes from milk produced in the stables of Sondrio province and some neighbouring municipalities of the Upper Valley Brembana in Bergamo. Characterized by a cylindrical shape with a diameter of 30-50 cm and a white to straw-yellow paste, depending on the seasoning with sparse partridge-eye eyes, it has a sweet, delicate taste, with aromatic notes of alpine herbs. Its use in the kitchen is varied, and it is undoubtedly perfect, accompanied by a glass of excellent red wine.
Photo Credits: Distretto Agroalimentare di Qualità della Valtellina (CC BY-SA 4.0)
3. Snail caviar (Sicily)
Snail caviar, a product of great interest from Sicily, costs around 160 euros per 100 grams. It has a prominent position among the products of excellence in Haute gastronomy. Its production involves laborious work to collect and select the eggs, carried out exclusively by hand.
2. Bottarga (Sardinia)
On the subject of caviar, the Sardinian caviar par excellence is botargo. This prized food comes from mullet or tuna roe, an accurate and lengthy salting and drying process.
1. Brisighella extra virgin olive oil (Emilia Romagna)
Brisighella is a village in the province of Ravenna, located 115 metres above sea level in the lower Lamone Valley, on the slopes of the Tuscan-Roman Apennines. The most expensive extra virgin olive oil of Italy. It was the first to receive OPD recognition from the European Union.
This oil is emerald green in colour, with golden highlights. The smell is medium to fruity solid with a clear sensation of herbs and vegetables. The flavour is fruity, with a slight bitterness and a light to a medium hint of spice.
Did you know these dishes, have you ever tasted them?