Tourists from around the world often remark on the rich, simple, amazing meals they have eaten in Italy. It’s no secret that the food is good, but many people wonder why the same ingredients taste so much better in Italy than they do in their home country. Is it that the atmosphere and experience subconsciously make you think that the food tastes better? Or are Italian ingredients just that much better? Why is it so difficult to experience the array of flavors in Italian food outside of Italy? Here are a few Italian cooking secrets that unlock the secret to the goodness of food in Italy.
Because of small-scale restaurant venues in many locations and the closeness of farm or freshly produced ingredients, food in Italy really does taste better. Many cooks know how to make each ingredient of a meal from scratch, including cheeses to produce the perfect consistency and saltiness, and pastas made from scratch to delicious perfection. You’ll find that flavors, textures, and spices are typically locally produced and contain no preservatives. So even though you’re eating a lot of food in Italy, it may just be better for you than diet foods you eat back home. Fresh food just tastes better and contains more nutrition.
Because locally produced ingredients are important and even culturally valued, seasonality plays a key role in food production. The best restaurants have ever-changing, seasonal menus that showcase the tastiest ingredients rather than taking several days to import ingredients from other areas and forcing them to lose their freshness. When it comes to food, Italians value season over convenience – the best restaurants simply change their offerings instead of sacrificing freshness. Every season becomes a celebration of foods marking the passing of time.
Quality is certainly valued over quantity in the Italian culture. The food is high-calorie, rich, and delicious, but over-indulgence is frowned upon. Food is locally produced and proudly valued; therefore, it’s a shame to waste it by serving too-large portions. School children even learn food appreciation in school, and the relational nature of cooking and consuming food is passed down from generation to generation through fellowship. It really comes down to cultural values of the people. Food is so good in Italy, because there is a thriving market for the best food – anything less won’t sell.