This richness is reflected in the very different regional places, which nevertheless have something in common: the preference for basic dishes, regional ingredients and the use of fragrant herbs. And that is exactly the recipe for an Italian cuisine whose dishes have become established all over the world and whose should definitely be tasted on site.
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Venice boasts the most imaginative cuisine. As a historic port city that traded with the Orient, Venice made friends early on with a wealth of spices and some ingredients. Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, but also eggplant, pine nuts, almonds and raisins reached the city by sea and found their way into the regional cuisine. Austrian influences are particularly visible on the dessert plates in the way of strudels.
In Milan, the bustling capital of Lombardy, it is sometimes difficult to get through to a Lombard cuisine; the whole world seems to be represented with a restaurant in the city. As you explore local food, you’ll stumble upon the savory blue-green gorgonzola cheese, used in a bold risotto; gives its delicate buttery taste; on risotto alla milanese, with its wonderful saffron flavor, and a risotto with tench, which is widely used in the region.
In the north, the course of the Po borders Emilia Romagna, in the south it looks up to the Appenin, enjoys good neighborliness with Tuscany and the mild climate due to the adjacent Adriatic Sea. Emilia Romagna is a paradise for gourmets, it is not for nothing that it is nicknamed “Italy’s belly”. The ingredients for cold antipasti have their home here: the grainy parmigiano reggiano and the mild prosciutto di parma with the sweet note and artichokes in olive oil. A real treat, served with piadina, the flatbread from the region.
Tuscany, Liguria and Umbria
The gently rolling landscape of Tuscany is home to countless small gardens in which fruit and vegetables are harvested, sun-ripened and full of aroma. High-quality local ingredients and dishes that follow the course of the year are what make Tuscan cuisine so great.
The cattle that provide the excellent meat for bistecca fiorentina, steaks gently roasted over charcoal, come from the Maremma. This dish, which requires at least two people, is usually served with small white beans or seasonal vegetables.
Fragrant lemon and orange groves, gnarled olive trees bearing the raw product for green-gold oil; blue glittering sea, from which swordfish, anchovies and much more is fetched – the kitchen of Sicily is as colorful as the country itself. Fresh fruit and vegetables are offered on the colorful, lively markets all year round. Fragrant herbs and vegetables are used generously in the kitchen: fennel, wild asparagus, borage, capers and cardoon flavor soups, pasta, meat and stews.
The influence of foreign cultures is noticeable in many dishes. Oriental flavors are evident from the antipasti to the desserts, which are mostly made with almonds and candied fruit. Cinnamon, ricotta and candied oranges provide the filling for cannoli, fine wafer rolls. Couscous gets the aroma of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, served with fish and seafood. Spada and tuna are marinated in orange juice, bay leaves and raisins before grilling.
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