Italy is famous for its food products and each region of Italy has its own local products. Here we would like to present the best Italy has to offer. The best products can be found in food markets in each Italian city. Food festivals are great for meeting local producers and purchasing quality products. Italy offer a wide variety of food products - from famous prosciutto, salami, cheeses, chocolates, cookies and other baked products, pasta, wines, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. If you want to see what Italy has to offer regarding food in one place you should visit FICO Eataly world in Bologna. This food theme park will introduce you to the best regional food products of Italy.
Some of the most popular Italian gourmet products include their salumi, meats preserved by salting, drying or smoking. The majority of salumi are made from pork. The most famous is prosciutto, usually from Parma or Friuli, but other pork specialities, such as prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), lardo or pancetta are also popular.
Over 450 kinds of cheese is made in Italy. The most famous is Parmigiano Reggiano which is hard cheese ideal for grating and usually served in small pieces. Other Italian cheeses from northern Italy include Grana Padano, Fontina, Asiago, Taleggio and Gorgonzola.
In the south, sheep milk is used to make pecorino which is divided into Romano, Toscano and Sardo. Goat milk is used for making cheese in many parts of Italy as well. Buffalo mozzarella is a fresh cheese made of buffalo milk but can be made of cow milk also. Other fresh cheeses include ricotta, made of gently cooked whey and mascarpone which is made by culturing full fat cream.
Condimenti are Italian gourmet products that cover sauces, preserved produce and many kinds of seasonings. Mushrooms, vegetables and seafood can be preserved in olive oil, vinegar and canned to use in antipasti or for cooking. Sweet jams, fresh pesto and even aceto balsamico are also popular.
Tartufi (truffles) are one of the most expensive Italian gourmet products. The most expensive variety is Tuber magnatum, or white truffle, found in Piedmont in the autumn or early winter.
Italy is a home of all kind of pasta which is produces in numerous family factories following their traditional recipes. You will need an effort to get to know all kind of pasta shapes - from thin spaghetti, to flat tagliatelle, farfalle and penne. Pasta is made from special kind of flours which gives them right texture and flavour. Some pasta are made from unsual kind of flour such as buchwheat flour or chestnut flour. All kind of pasta can be found in their food shops but true fresh pasta can be bought on their markets.
Rice is one of the less known Italian food products but mostly produced in the north of Italy. There are many varieties of rise, from Arborio, then Baldo, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano.
Italy is famous for its extra virgin olive oils. Nearly one third of the olive oil in the world is produced in Italy. Most of this oil comes from central and southern Italy, however a few places in northern Italy grow olives. The climate where the olives grew and methods of extraction give difference to the flavour of the oil. This fruity green oil can be used raw as a condiment or used for cooking Italian sauces, vegetables, seafood, meat or soups.
Throughout the Italy you will find numerous producers of delicious chocolate. One of the most famous is Perugina with its Baci chocolate - a shell with gianduia hazelnut filling inside. Venchi is a company from Turin which produce chocolate goods using only the best cocoa from South America and Africa, hazelnuts from Piedmont, pistachios and almonds from Sicily. In Sicily, you will find "cioccolato di Modica" - specific kind of chocolate with crumbly consistency which comes in a variety of flavours.
Besides chocolate, Italy is famous for other sweet products. During Christmas and New Year in the shops of Italy you will find finely wrapped boxes with panettone and pandoro - two kinds of sweet cakes. Torrone is a nougat made of egg whites, sugar and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachio) and is very popular in Italy. Sweets spreads made of nuts can be used for pancakes or just to enjoy them. You can find many flavours such as almond, hazelnut, pistachio and gianduia which is combination of chocolate and hazelnut tastes.
Italian dry cookies such as cantuccini, amaretti or savoiardi can be found everywhere in the world. There are numerous variations of these delicious sweets.
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