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Tuesday, September 28 2010

It is important to learn a little about Italian history in order to better understand northern Italian cuisine and how it evolved. People from the north of Italy fled the Lombard invasion in 570 AD, taking refuse in the remote parts of the countryside.

The Roman armies were defeated and barbaric invasions were ongoing. Venice was founded and the north Adriatic Sea lagoons protected it. It was not until 1000 AD that people started to return to the cities.

There was a rapid population increase at this point, which boosted fairs and market commerce, artisan manufacture and agricultural production. Italy divided itself into autonomous city republics, which means the smaller Italian cities were soon invaded by foreign powers, which controlled these areas until 1862.

Because of their trade with the Islamic world as well as national commerce and trade with northern Europe, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Verona, Genoa, and Venice all became very rich. The courts of nobility had many banquets and feasts at the time, each of which was magnificent and opulent. The recipes dating from this era are still preserved although such elaborate meals are not meant for everyday meals.

Fish Recipes In Italian Cuisine

The recipes from the north of the country are not as extensive as you might think, considering the long coastline. There are not so many fish in the Mediterranean as in the Atlantic so most recipes from the area do not include fish or seafood as an ingredient.

Also, fish used to be tricky to transport, especially into the interior of Italy, where the inhabitants would eat lake fish or freshwater fish instead. Many people think of meat such as beef, pork and cured ham when they think about Italian cuisine but modern transportation possibilities mean that fish is popular all over the country as well and is included in a lot of dishes.

Well Known Italian Ingredients

A lot of original cooking techniques and unique ingredients were developed in the north of Italy and they are still in use all over the globe today. Examples include balsamic vinegar from Modena, Parmigiano Reggiano from Emilia, red radicchio from Treviso, pesto, tortellini, prosciutto and much more. Rice and maize dominate the mountainous Po Valley area. The rice is used for risotto and the maize is used for polenta.

South of the Po River are Romagna and Emilia. This land is fertile and wheat and pork are produced abundantly there. Bologna, which is the food capital of the country, is nicknamed La Grassa, which means "the fat" and fresh pasta is famous in the region. Pasta recipes from Bologna are especially refined and sophisticated.

Venice's cuisine is rich with fish, including sardines and other crustaceans and mollusks. Cioppino, which is a fish stew, is well loved in Liguria. This dish was taken to San Francisco with fishermen from Genoa at the beginning of the 1900s, and it is often served in Italian restaurants there. Dried cod and salt cod were used in many of Veneto's recipes since they were available all year.

Even though some Italian cities were ruled by foreign powers for a time, Italy's native cuisine never lost its identity and, instead, the foreign dishes and ingredients were incorporated into the local fare, making Italian cuisine truly classical and traditional.

Italian cuisine is exciting and varied. If you want to explore Italian ingredients further, what about starting with some pizza recipes? There are lots of types of pizza and you can experiment by using famous Italian ingredients as the toppings. You Make the Pizza, We Help You Make It Great!

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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