Eat, Pray and…Just Eat Some More

Culture comes in many forms: it can be a book, a painting, a song, or in our case, a dish. Italian cuisine and the country’s identity go hand it hand!

Since the beginning of time, Italy has always been evenly populated, from its northern lands through its southern ones. Which means that every region and town has created its own culinary traditions, specially thanks to a large biodiversity. We can even use the term Italian cuisines – in plural, to underline the different specialities depending on where you are.

So let’s divide the territory into 3 main areas:

1. The northern regions:

The cold climate makes it harder for local farmers to grow fresh vegetables, which makes the local produce there rare and more expensive. Moreover, the long political influence of France and Austria changed the face of the local cuisine. That’s why you can find a lot of preserved foods, cooked veggies, and the use of butter instead of olive oil.

The Langhe area

This lush, hilly region south of Turin offers some of the most exquisite Italian red wines, such as the Barolo, the Barbera and the Barbaresco. They go exceptionally well with different cheeses, breads and breadsticks typical of the area. If you go with this option, you’ll have a simple but out of this world delicious aperitivo.  

The via Emilia area

The Parma and Modena regions have been building a solid reputation in the culinary industry, boasting some of the finest restaurants, not only in Italy, but internationally. The region offers lovely historic venues plunged in rustic settings, perfect for gourmet weddings. The products not to miss are: the culatello, a refined version of the prosciutto crudo di Parma, or the precious 30 month-seasoned Parmigiano Reggiano. Regarding dishes, the area is world famous for its egg-based pasta such as lasagne, tagliatelle, ravioli, and tortellini. For your wedding reception, you could go for the classic ricotta and spinach filled ravioli served with a light butter and sage sauce, or you could decide to experiment with some creative pairing. The options are endless! 

2. The central regions:

The warm weather is agriculture’s generous lover! When the sun shines longer than anywhere else on “The Boot”, vegetables get plumper, juicer and more varied. Central Italy is also the home to crops that rarely grow in other regions, such as the farro grain, and saffron, that stunningly colored spice that found its way from the Middle East to Abruzzo. You’ll also notice that in these middle regions, the olive oil replaces the butter, and the meat is the best you can get in all of Italy.

Tuscany and Umbria

The traditional cuisine that characterizes Tuscany and Umbria doesn’t need much presentation. You’ll find fantastic wines, tasty cold cuts, outstanding meat and hundreds of mouth-watering dishes. Take for instance the simple “pici cacio e pepe”, a kind of a thick spaghetti served with a pecorino cheese and pepper sauce, accompanied by a silky olive oil. Does it get better than this?

3. The southern regions with their dual identity: 

The range of high quality produce has been interpreted in two ways. One direction is the farmers’ simple and straight forward way that gave birth to the iconic Italian dishes, such as pizza or spaghetti with tomato sauce. The other is more complex and refined, thanks to the Borbone family cooks, who ruled over a large portion of the area for centuries.

The Amalfi Coast

Naples and its surroundings represent Italy’s diverse fabric. In a short walk you’ll meet the best and the worst, opulence and poverty, refined culture and sheer ignorance. What will remain unchanged though in the Amalfi Coast area, is the kitchen! It all derives from the high quality of Italy’s raw material and the pure passion for food that everyone has. When you bump into somebody in the street, you can be sure the topic would be either soccer or food! Integrating the local cuisine in your menu will be really simple, but in my opinion the best way will be hiring a dairyman who will prepare fresh mozzarella in front of your guests: an unforgettable experience! 

Apulia

What strikes us in Apulian cuisine, is that it fits everyone. If you’re a sucker for meat, then you’ll love the lamb sticks. If you’re more on the vegetarian side, the range of delicious dishes based on fresh vegetables and herbs will leave you speechless. And for all the seafood lovers, the local mussels and fish are to die for!

When preparing your destination wedding in Italy, make use of this amazing culinary variety and have it reflected in your wedding menu depending on where you’ll say “I do”. Food is the perfect way to offer yourself and your guests an authentic, off the beaten path experience. 

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