Italian cuisine is considered amongst the best on our planet. Aside from the food itself, a meal in Italy is synonymous with gathering, enjoying the food that you have just prepared for the family, and winding down after a day of hard work.
While driving to Italy I was thinking about what characterises Italian meals. I was talking with my boyfriend Roberto, who is both Italian and a cook, and we were discussing what is so different in the Italian concept of “eating” compared to that of other countries.
I’d like to share with you what we think are the five principles of Italian eating:
Less is more, right? It certainly is for the Italians. “Few ingredients, but good ones.” I can almost hear Roberto’s nonna (grandma) telling me this important rule. You don’t need to spend tons of money to buy fancy ingredients, you can make the best pasta with just flour, eggs and salt!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
On every table, on every dish. To season salads, pastas, to sauté some vegetables or fry your egg, olive oil is an Italians’ best friend. It makes a quick sauce for pasta when you’re in a hurry, with just sage or grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese.
Grow your own greens, fruit and herbs. Or if you cannot buy local, trade with family and friends. Roberto’s parents live down the valley, next to the sea, whereas my parents live on the highest part of the same valley – His parents gave my parents lots of grapes and two bottles of olive oil from their own trees, and my parents shared with them a bag of chestnuts and lots of mushrooms. That’s networking!
Take The Time
Both when cooking and when eating, take your time. The best dishes are made with love and the produce you have been growing this year or even that you’ve bought. There’s value in your time and money, so don’t waste it because you’re in a hurry. When eating enjoy every bite!
It’s all about being together after all. Cooking together to organise a nice dinner for the whole family can be really nice and spare you some stress; and when everyone is at the table be present, talk, get involved, discuss, laugh… The best evenings are those when you start eating at 8 (well, that’s when Italians have dinner) and suddenly you realise it’s midnight and you really should go.
These principles are the Italian’s way of life a in a nutshell, in my opinion. Let me know if you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions. If you want to read more about our adventures come and join us on Details, naturally!