What is Italian Cuisine?
Italy is a country with twenty distinct regions with their own local features and characteristics. Every city, town, and village makes the same dish in a wide variety of ways. Each town and village has a specialty in which they take the utmost pride. The identities of these communities and their citizens are defined by their culinary traditions in the same way as does their linguistic dialect and traditional dress. On the local level, geographic, historical, cultural and climactic variations help to determine culinary customes and favorites. Some inland mountain regions do not have seafood easily accessible. Some regions are coastal, sometimes on the side of cliffs, where seafood is an easier food source than other items from inland areas. Different areas have had Greek, Arab, French or Austrian Influences. Climates range from fog, wind and cold snowy winter seasons to warm, even hot, sunny summers.
Italy is a small country with a long and highly respected history. The Roman Empire expanded to rule much of the known world. When it collapsed in the fifth century AD, fourteen centuries elapsed which were dominated by city states, kingdoms, duchies and republics which interacted with frequent friction, fluctuating from isolationism to attempts to usurp their neighbor’s territory. Additionally, there were challenges from invaders from all directions. In today’s Italy foods from other regions are often available due to the modern transportation infrastructure, and Italians are much more likely to exchange culinary knowledge and sample other regions’ cuisines. This is, in reality, a very recent phenomenon. This explains how in the 21st century, we still find quite distinctive regional Italian cuisines.