Italian cuisine is largely diverse each region in the country has its own distinctive set of recipes, products, ingredients and flavors. The natural landscape and climate have played an integral role in shaping the cookery in each region. Proximity to other countries and military invasions over the years have also played a role in this.
When visiting the country, some visitors may be shocked at the high prices of food in some districts. A simple meal for two in a pizzeria could cost as much as 80. One can therefore opt to cook not just to save money, but to also experience shopping in local markets and using ingredients which aren't used outside their locality. A temporary kitchen can be set up for this purpose. The most useful appliances would be an electric oven, a 4-burner gas cooktop, a roasting pan as well as other pots and skillets.
Location is key.
Location is very important when it comes to Italian food there are many laws that protect the legitimacy of products originating from certain areas. For instance, any vinegar that carries the Modena Balsamic label must be created in Modena. Likewise, any cheese with the Parmigiano Reggiano name must be produced in one of the Emilia-Romagna provinces.
The common aspect of Italian food is the traditional meal structure. Rather than everything being served in a few courses, the dinners are comprised of an array of small party plates. These are normally served in succession, which gives the diners more time to enjoy the food and company.
The meals progress from the appetizer to the first course, which is mostly pasta. Contemporary city diners, who've mostly departed from this structure for convenience reasons, usually follow it on holidays. The time consuming meals are however a telling of the Italian concept of food acting as a sensory bliss that surpasses plain nourishment.
Cured meats are normally used in dishes that carry a cultural significance. Such include the famous prosciuttos from the North as well as a variety of salamis from the South. Some examples of dishes prepared using these meats include the aromatic Easter pies which are made through Southern and Central Italy.
A wide variety of pastas and breads can also be found throughout the country. The breads differ substantially in taste, size and texture. Pasta is also unique from region to region. Fresh, home-prepared pasta can be found in almost all parts, and is usually simply dressed to avoid overwhelming its subtle flavour.
In the South, dried pasta is the most preferred and can have various inventive adornments. Some shapes carry the legends behind their invention. The tortellini is a stuffed, ring-shaped pasta variety which can be found in Emilia-Romagna.
Many chefs have different ideas on the proper naming, preparation and origin of specific dishes. Italian cuisine is always an issue of regional pride. If one were to try and sum it all up, it would be described as a celebration of homegrown flavours whose common emblem is the appreciation of seasonal ingredients of high quality that are prepared in elegance.