Italy is a true heaven for foodies. Tourists and travellers are constantly drawn to Italy throughout the year to explore its rich culture, food, world heritage sites and big fashion brands. Italy is one of the 7 booming economies of the world, giving foreign investors some more reasons to visit Italy (Does Italian economy and business interest you? Give this a read – Economy & Business norms of Italy MUST READ). Keeping everything aside, Italian cuisine is very much able to turn anybody into a big fat foodie!

The Italian cuisine is traditional, well-made, rich in taste & texture and guaranteed to give you gastronomic satisfaction. Read these 8 scrumptious Italian food cultures that you weren’t aware of!

  1. The superstition
    • Be a little cautious about these superstitions as they are believed and followed everywhere in Italy. They say it is bad luck to spill Olive oil and salt, enrooting to an Old Italian belief. The unlucky ‘13’ from the last supper is followed in Italy as well, 13 people sitting on a dining table together is said to be a bad luck. Also, while having food always remember to place the bread upside down. The consumption of lentils represents good luck and prosperity for anyone who eats them as they look similar to small coins. Italians eat lentils on New Year’s Eve to start the year ahead with good luck!
    • We think talking about luck over a glass of wine at the bay of Naples is a good idea, isn’t it?
  2. Never miss the Elevenses
    • Italians, unlike the Brits, prefer having light breakfasts which include their favourite cafe latte or cappuccino, bread rolls, cookies & pastries. They often enjoy the elevenses with some fruit salad, muesli and yoghurt. Having a light breakfast helps the foodie Italians save their appetites for the main meal of the day- LUNCH!
  3. Always up for Veggies
    • Italy has to offer a variety of home-grown, fresh and delicious vegetables in the local markets. The Italians clearly love the old trend of buying fresh vegetables and fruits from the local markets. A number of vegetables are grown throughout the year but the seasonal foods are something you must try! Summer favourites include aubergines, beans, beetroot, cucumbers, courgettes, peas, radishes and tomatoes. And in winters, you’ll find artichokes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers, fennel, spinach and turnips.
  4. Luscious Holidays
    • You will get tasty food in Italy 365 days a year – Agreed! But during Christmas and Easter, there’s got to be something special too, right? A variety of savoury and sweet Italian dishes are made exclusively for the festivities. They include meat, seafood, breads, and fruit cakes for the festive feasts. Easter brings in the popularly savoury dish Minestra di Pasqua and Gubana Easter bread & Ciambellone for desserts. Different types of pasta and lasagne are widely prepared for Christmas with the mouth-watering desserts like panettone and panforte.
  5. Say yes for Frozen Delights
    • Mostly in summers, you wouldn’t want to miss out on Gelato and Sorbetto. Gelato (means frozen) and makes a healthier alternative for ice creams with less of sugar in it. It comes from the Nothern Italy, whereas Sorbetto comes from the South. Try both when you’re in Italy in summers as they make the best ‘summer treats’!
  6. Simple yet delicious Supper
    • There are many “peasant” dishes that are traditional and equally popular in Italy even today. Easy on pocket and soul-satisfying, simple supper option – Ribollita is famous throughout the country. There are more simple yet delicious dishes like Polenta and the pudding of Mantova’s Torta Sbrisolona.
  7. Pizzas & Pasta
    • Thought we forgot to mention about the famous pizzas and pasta? How could we?
    • Digging a bit into the history of everyone’s favourite food – Pizza; in the 18th century pizzas were famous for the poor in Naples. It was nothing but a flat, round base with no topping on it. It is difficult to tell who invented the pizza, but Chef Raffaele Esposito (of Naples) is known as the father of modern pizza.
    • In 1889, Chef Raffaele Esposito tried making something special out of the flat pizza base for the Italian Queen Margherita. He used cheese, tomatoes and basil leaves (Italy’s flag colors) to make the first-ever pizza sample, which was loved by the queen. And that’s how the Italians got the famous Margherita Pizza. Eventually, there were a number of pizzerias opening up in Italy and was loved by everyone.
    • The first written record of pasta and tomato sauce is said to be found in L’Apicio Moderno, a cookbook written in 1790 by Roman Chef Francesco Leonardi. The archetypal mix for this includes tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and herbs. The best way to serve up this dish is to cook the pasta until it’s al dente. Have a look at the picture below to understand which pasta is called what!
  1. Food festival? You name it!
    • Italy has innumerable food festivals throughout the year that are dedicated to specific foods and ingredients. April’s Artichoke Festival is held in Ladispoli, serving up a selection of artichoke-related dishes and a contest to find the best artichoke sculpture. Bologna’s annual Potato Festival takes place in September for a week with some special events and local restaurants providing local potato meals. Then there’s The Olive Festival, Frontoi Aperti, is one of the best known of the October/November season in Umbria.
    • Are you a chocolate lover? Then do not miss the Turin’s November-based Cioccolato will be right up your street. Visit Italy to witness more food festivals dedicated to cheeses, meats, cereals, oils – and of course, the finest wines. There’s a food festival for each one of you!