Perhaps more so than many European countries, traditional dishes and ingredients vary widely according to the availability locally produced food, not to mention its political history. despite modern day storage and transport, the specialties of each region remain distinct.

Dishes in the north are often rich with cream and meaty sauces being popular. Here risotto and polenta are often eaten instead of pasta and Germanic influences are clearly seen, a good example of which is gnocchi (potato and flour dumplings). Beef, pork and particularly dairy products such as butter and cream and widely used.

Fish and seafood is plentiful in the coastal areas.

Central Italy’s cuisine reflects its geographical features. Miles of olive groves and vineyards dominate parts of the landscape and both olive oil and wine are popular ingredients in cooking. Other widely used ingredients include truffles, ham, pork, and offal and fresh vegetables are used with reverence. Much of the cuisine is more simple and rustic dishes make the best use of the excellent local produce without the need for heavy sauces or too much seasoning.

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