Italian Gastronomy, an icon of the Mediterranean Diet, is celebrating today. Because every January 17th is celebrated the Italian Food Day. A rich, varied, healthy and, above all, quality cuisine. But it also has many benefits because it is very healthy and balanced. For all these reasons it was declared, in 2010, Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Will you join us to celebrate this day?
Italian cuisine is one of the oldest cuisines. Belonging to the so healthy and praised Mediterranean diet, Italian cuisine is characterized by its variety of ingredients and the quality of them.
Although many people think that Italian food is based on pizzas and risottos, this is far from the truth. It is a rich, varied, healthy and delicious diet. What more could we ask for? And, to commemorate this gastronomy, every January 17th is celebrated its day. Therefore, we want to celebrate it with you knowing more about this date; some characteristics and typical dishes of Italian cuisine, and the benefits of following this diet. Will you join us?
Why We Celebrate Italian Food Day
Italian cuisine, being a world-famous gastronomy, also suffers from the negative side of this fame.
And the fact is that Italian gastronomy has a great counterfeit. Both of its cuisine and its products. Fakes that have little or nothing to do with the authentic Italian dishes or products; but that, appropriating this adjective, try to make a profit by deceiving the consumer.
Therefore, this date promotes knowledge about Italian cuisine and its quality, so that consumers know how to distinguish and can demand the quality of authentic Italian cuisine.
And we, from TopGastronomic, also want to do our bit for the cause, showing you, in broad strokes, the characteristics of this gastronomy and its cuisine.
January 17, St. Anthony the Abbot
The choice of this date to commemorate Italian food is not accidental, because January 17 is also the day of San Antonio Abad. Better known as San Anton in Spain. Saint Anthony Abbot, patron saint of animals, is also the patron saint of butchers and butchers. And he is a figure closely linked to agriculture.
Farmers and peasants had great devotion to him. They brought their work animals before the saint, so that he would bless them and protect them from illnesses and accidents.
But what does all this have to do with Italian cuisine? Well, this cuisine is strongly linked to agriculture and livestock. Belonging to the Mediterranean Diet, one of its maxims is to use natural, fresh and organic ingredients. That is why this day, the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot, was chosen to commemorate Italian food.
Do you want to know the Gastronomy of Italy?
Italian gastronomy is well known worldwide and is very popular. Its cuisine has a strong historical and traditional character. In fact, in Italy there is a saying: “the most representative recipes of its gastronomy were written by mothers and grandmothers, and not by great chefs”.
Characteristics of Italian Cuisine
- The gastronomy of Italy is a traditional cuisine, in fact, it is one of the oldest in existence. It is the result of several centuries, since Ancient Rome, of Greek, Arab and Byzantine food influences. That is why it is such a rich and varied gastronomy.
- It has a very wide range of recipes. As we will see later, Italian cuisine is not based on pizzas and pasta. It has a multitude of very varied traditional dishes.
- This cuisine belongs to the Mediterranean diet, one of the healthiest and declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity. So it is also a very healthy cuisine.
- Italian cuisine is synonymous with freshness. It is characterized by the fact that the ingredients used to prepare the vast majority of its dishes are always fresh. This cuisine is based more on the quality of the products than on the quantity.
- It also has a high content of fruits and vegetables. This makes it a diet, and a type of cuisine, very beneficial for our health.
Italy also has a long tradition of wines, coffee, chocolate, liqueurs and cheeses. In fact, Italy is the largest wine producer in the world.
Did you know that a good Italian Menu is divided into four courses?
They start with the “Antipasto” (appetizers). Then we find the “Primo Piatto” or first course, followed by the “Secondo Piatto” and ending with the “Dolce”.
On days of celebration this scheme is still followed to elaborate the meals.
Pizzas are considered as the only course.
And following the typical structure of a good Italian menu, we are going to see a small summary of some of the most representative dishes of each category.
Create a complete Menu to celebrate Italian Food Day
L’Antipasto – Italian Appetizers
Among the Italian starters, we have selected the most traditional or representative ones:
- Carpaccio: which can be made of meat, fish or vegetables. Some of the Italian classics in this category are “Carpaccio alla ciprani”, “Carpaccio of salmon with yogurt sauce”, or “tomato carpaccio”.
- Caprese: Perhaps one of the most Italian salads there is. Based on mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil and olive oil. A very simple and easy salad, but really delicious.
- Frutti di Mare: For the most special days, seafood, raw or cooked. A simple starter that cannot be missing in the gastronomy of a country with so much coastline.
- Arancini: Perhaps these are the least known. It is a kind of round croquettes, made of rice paste and saffron. They are usually filled with meat ragout, vegetables or cheeses. The arancini are originally from Sicily.
- And to finish with the category of Italian appetizers, it is also very common to find dishes with sausages as a starter. For example, “bresaola”, a cured veal cold meat served in thin slices.
And accompanying these sausages, you can not miss the cheeses. Italy is the country with the highest number of Denomination of Origin cheeses in Europe.
Il Primo – Traditional first courses of the Italian Gastronomy
The first course usually consists of a hot dish. The most common is pasta. There are many types of pasta. Some of the most typical are:
- Macaroni Mari e Monti: Based on seafood and mushrooms. A delicious combination that is perfect for pasta. It is a simple dish to prepare, but with an unbeatable result. If you opt for this first course, here you can see the recipe of Pasta Mari e Monti.
- Spaghetti alla Carbonara: originally from Lazio, more specifically, from Rome. Although we mistakenly imitate this recipe using cream, the truth is that this dish does not have it. That unctuous texture that characterizes the carbonara sauce, comes from the egg. The main ingredient in the carbonara sauce.
- Farfalle al Pesto alla Genovese, a dish originating from Genoa, in northwestern Italy. It is believed to come from a sauce used by fishermen to preserve food for a longer time.
- Penne Rigate all’Arrabbiata, a very typical sauce made with tomato, garlic and chili peppers. Its name comes from the Italian word “arrabbiato”, which means “furious, angry”, in reference to the spicy flavor of this dish.
- Lasagna, such as, for example, Bolognese. Another typical Italian sauce, with origins in Ancient Rome, but widespread worldwide.
- But we not only find pasta as a first course. We also find soups, a large number of risottos, such as mushrooms, and gnocchis, or gnocchi in Spanish: a type of Italian pasta made from potatoes.
Il Secondo, the main course
The main course is usually meat or fish. And, as in our menus, it is the most hearty dish.
From fish we find the “Seppie ripiene”, a classic dish of the Apulia region. It is cuttlefish stuffed with a mixture of garlic, parsley, capers, egg, pecorino cheese and breadcrumbs among others, served au gratin.
Another main fish dish is the “Burrida a sa casteddaia”, made with pintarroja, a type of cat shark, which is served with a creamy sauce of walnuts, garlic and vinegar.
And we finish the fish with a rich “Baccalà alla vicentina”, a cod cooked with onions, anchovies and Parmesan cheese.
If on the other hand we opt for meat, we find dishes such as “Saltimbocca alla Romana”, made with veal, ham and sage.
Or the “ossobuco”, a very traditional veal stew of Italian gastronomy.
Other typical dishes are the “Bistecca alla Fiorentina”, a good cut of meat cooked on the grill.
And the “Porchetta”, pork meat very typical of the central regions of Italy. It is usually eaten as a sandwich.
Pizzas, Focaccias and Calzones to celebrate Italian Food Day
Another great mythical food of Italy are Pizzas, focaccias and calzones. Here we saw the most traditional pizzas of Italy.
Regarding the Focaccias, they are a kind of flat bread covered with herbs and other ingredients to taste, which deserve a full entry that we leave pending.
And to finish this very complete menu in honor of the Italian Food Day, and not to extend much more, we tiptoe through the desserts, with dishes as rich as tiramisu or Pannacota.
Benefits of Italian Food to celebrate your day
A cuisine as rich and varied as the Italian, and belonging to the Mediterranean Diet, has many benefits for our body. But the Mediterranean diet is not only dishes and recipes, it also includes a lifestyle. Something they know very well in Italy.
Italian food has a high nutritional quality. And it underlines the importance of food in our health and well-being. That is why, in Italy, diseases related to poor nutrition are very rare.
By using fresh, quality food, our health immediately notices it. It also has a great variety, both in terms of products and elaborations. This is essential to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
All this has a direct impact on our health and our mood.
With this we end our little tribute to Italian food, to celebrate its day as it deserves.
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