Italian food is known and appreciated around the world for being carefully prepared with fresh seasonal ingredients, and for featuring wonderful flavour combinations.
When most people think of Italian food, they instantly think of pizza and pasta dishes that make their mouth water. But Italy has a lot more to offer, as you will see as you discover these types of Italian food which are typical to 11 regions of this fascinating country.
1. Fonduta – Piemonte, Italy
Piemonte is a region of the northwest of Italy, and its capital city is Turin. The region is known for its white and red wines, its fine cheeses, its white truffles, and grissini, which are crispy thin breadsticks.
Piemonte is home to a few popular types of Italian food and dishes, including fonduta, a melted cheese dip made with eggs, milk and truffles, and Cardi alla Bagna Cauda, a dish of chard served with a warm anchovy sauce.
2. Minestrone – Lombardia, Italy
Milan is the capital city of this northern Italian region where rice and polenta are more popular than pasta. Lombardia is known for popular types of Italian food, such as Minestrone alla Milanese, Risotto alla Milanese, and Osso buco.
Several fine cheeses are produced in this region, including blue Gorgonzola, Mascarpone and Provolone, and they are being used in a variety of dishes.
3. Polenta – Veneto, Italy
Veneto is a northern Italian region where Venice is the capital city. Polenta and rice are also very popular in Veneto, as well as mushrooms and wild fowl. Popular local dishes include fegato alla Veneziana, which is a calf liver fried with onions, and Risi e Bisi, which consists of rice and peas.
Seafood and fresh fish are an important part of many dishes prepared in Veneto, and Asiago is the most popular cheese coming from this region.
4. Basil Pesto Sauce – Liguria, Italy
Liguria is a coastal region or the northwest of Italy, and its capital city is Genoa. Basil pesto sauce is the most famous culinary creation coming from this region, where fresh seafood is involved in many dishes.
Even though butter is more popular than olive oil in most regions of Northern Italy, Liguria’s olive oil is featured in many dishes cooked in this region.
5. Stuffed Pasta – Emilia-Romagna, Italy
The Italian region of Emilia-Romagna has Bologna for capital city. It is considered one of the richest regions of the country for its culinary and wine-making traditions. Stuffed pasta dishes are highly popular types of Italian food in Emilia-Romagna, and are often served with Bolognese sauce.
The region is also known for Prosciutto, Mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Modena Balsamic vinegar.
6. Fiorentine Steak – Toscana, Italy
The region of Toscana is a popular tourist destination in Central Italy, where Florence is the capital. Toscana is known for the simplicity of its dishes, but also for fine olive oils, sheep milk cheeses, and Chianti wine.
Some popular types of Italian food created in this region include steak alla fiorentina, ribollita, which is a thick vegetable soup, and cacciucco alla Livornese, which is a fish soup.
7. Bruschetta – Lazio, Italy
Rome is the capital city of the region of Lazio, which is famous for its fresh and dried pastas, but also for its white wines, its artichokes and its zucchini.
Well-known Italian dishes from Lazio include bruschetta, panzanella, spaghetti alla carbonara, gnocchi alla Romana, and rigatoni alla pagliata.
8. Black Truffles – Umbria, Italy
Umbria is the only Italian region which doesn’t have a coastline, or a border with another country. Its capital is Perugia.
Umbria is known for the best black truffles in the whole country. It’s also known for many types of fresh hand-made pastas, and for producing most of the dried pasta eaten in Italy. Prosciutto and salami are popular products from this region.
9. Mozzarella di Bufala – Campania, Italy
The first pizzeria in the world started in Naples, the capital of the region of Campania. Campania is known for its pizza, but also for the tomatoes, the figs, the peaches, the grapes, the lemons and the apricots that grow on its fertile volcanic soils.
The region is also famous for its Mozzarella di Bufala, which is cheese made from water buffalo milk. Seafood, meat and vegetables are part of many dishes from Campania.
10. Vitello al Marsala – Sicilia, Italy
Sicilia, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is a region of Southern Italy where Palermo is the capital. In Sicilia, pasta is often served with a rich and spicy tomato sauce. Vitello al Marsala, panella, caponata and polpetti are popular local dishes.
The island has volcanic soils where almonds, olives, lemons, blood oranges, and many other fruits grow abundantly.
11. Spicy Fish Soup – Sardinia, Italy
Sardinia is another island which is part of Southern Italy. Cagliari is the capital city of the region, which is known for its bread and sausages.
Sardinia is also known for its spicy fish soups, its seafood and sardines, its lean lamb, its pasta dishes, its gnocchi, and its sheep and goat cheeses.