Do you love Italian food as much as we do? Today we share Italian cuisine across the world, so you can learn more & find the best eats worldwide
Why Italian food?
Italy’s gastronomic culture is among the oldest in Europe, influenced by a blend of civilizations, from the Etruscans and the Greeks to the Arabs and the Spanish. It also happens to be one of the most loved and renowned cuisines in the world.
Today, Italian food is a staple in many countries, and its influence is felt worldwide thanks in part to its variety, and to the simple, natural, and healthy ingredients which provide its unique flavor. The country’s unique gastronomy has also made its way around the world thanks to the steady immigration of Italians to the Americas and elsewhere during the early 20th century. Italian food has become so popular, and so ubiquitous, that words like pizza, pesto, risotto, carbonara, and cappuccino have been co-opted by countless other cultures and languages.
Such is the fanaticism for this type of food that travelling to Italy to take a food tour – such as those offered by secretfoodstour.com – has become commonplace, in order to savour the nation’s signature delicacies in person. It’s hard not to fall in love with Italian cuisine, and it makes sense to head directly to the source to seek out the best of the best.
That said, it is no longer necessary to travel to Italy for a Rome Food tour, since Italian gastronomy can now be sampled anywhere in the world. In fact, as we will see in this article, many of the best Italian restaurants are located outside Italy.
Italian food around the world
Italian cuisine in North America
If you take a New York Food tour, you will no doubt be surprised by how well-represented Italian cuisine is in the Big Apple. Indeed, the American continent seems to be where Italy’s gastronomic culture has left the greatest mark outside Europe, due in part to the vast migration of Italians to the region over the years. One of the largest migratory flows in history saw nearly two million Italians emigrate to the US between 1900 and 1914, fleeing from poverty and the devastating impact of World War I.
Taking this into account, the extreme influence that Italian cuisine wields over the gastronomic culture of each region is understandable, as immigrants adapted their recipes to include flavors from their new homes. Unlike other cuisines, the staple ingredients in Italian food are easy to import, and available all year round – another reason for its global popularity. And nowadays, the effects of globalization mean that there is no shortage of authentic products from the homeland itself in such far-flung locations as Manhattan and the West Coast.
Such is the reach of Italian culture in certain US states that thriving Italian communities have formed there, and remain active to this day. For example, New York’s “Little Italy” is a famous neighborhood of Italian immigrants – as its name would suggest! The Italian influence is strong all over Manhattan, and you can find a large number of Italian restaurants that are very popular with tourists and residents alike, as well as Italian shops that provide food products and ingredients from back home.
Italian cuisine in South America
Meanwhile, many other South American countries experienced an influx of Italians in the early 20th century too, albeit in smaller numbers. It is estimated that roughly half of the population in countries like Argentina is of Italian descent, for example.
Italian dishes are prevalent in almost all Argentine restaurants: pasta, pizza, Milanese escalope, gnocchi, and polenta are all local favorites. The influence of Italian culture is loud and clear in Argentina, and the same goes for other nearby countries, such as Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
Polenta, in particular, is a very common dish in many Latin American countries, as is pasta. “Cotoletta alla milanese“, a breaded cutlet originating from Milan, has turned into the famous “milanesa” that is regularly prepared and served in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.
Finally, Italy’s mouth-watering heritage of ice cream and chocolate is acknowledged and celebrated in many Latin American countries too, through many well-known desserts such as Tiramisu.
Italian cuisine in Europe
In Europe, the mark of Italian culture can be observed in countries like France, England, Belgium, and Germany. Once again, this can be traced back to the historical migration of Italians to these countries. In Spain, the Italian influence is not so evident but still carries weight.
All of these countries host traditional Italian trattorias, as well as a wide range of products in specialized stores. There are even cooking courses available, taught by professional Italian chefs. The menus of restaurants in these countries are full of typical Italian dishes, such as antipasti, and include many Italian wines, limoncellos, and aperitifs, like the Spritz.
As you can see, Italian food – known as “the traveler’s cuisine” – has influenced many other cultures, and continues to do so, even if they are thousands of miles away. Even Japan has begun to incorporate localized variations on typical Italian dishes, like “Wafu pasta”, into their daily meals. If anything, Italy’s influence on global cuisine is greater than ever these days, thanks to the phenomenon of globalization.