Last month, we started the first in a multi-part article series on the different regions of Italy and what foods they’re best known for, as a way to give you even more appreciation for the history and culture behind some of the Italian dishes you already enjoy. This month, we’ll be picking up the series again by covering the food of 3 more regions—the simple-or-extravigant duality of Campania, the cured meats and cheeses of Emilia Romanga, and the central European flavors of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Get ready to dig into some local specialties!
Sitting just to the west of Basilicata, the picturesque Campania is home to several of Italy’s most beautiful cities such as Sorrento, as well as a few of its most historically significant like Pompeii. The food of this region has an interesting duality to it. Campania was at one point a poor region, so much of its food culture revolves around frugality and simple ingredients like pasta, rice, and sun-dried vegetables—this region is, after all, the birthplace of the pizza margherita. On the other hand, the seafood is decadent and used in all kinds of dishes as a way of splurging.
Recipes from the region include:
- Sauteed vegetable and thyme Caprese
- Pizza Margherita
- Neapolitan Lasagne
- Capri Chocolate Cake
More towards the north in the fertile valley of the Po River, Emilia Romagna is home to rich farmland and animal habitats that have produced some of Italy’s most famous dishes. The most notable of these come from nomadic traditions and are prepared to last a long time: the regional salumi, or cured meats, are famous around the world, and the city of Parma produces a Parmigiano that many consider to be the “king of cheeses”.
Regional specialties include:
- Parmigiano Reggiano DOP—world famous cheese from the city of Parma
- Prosciutto di Parma DOP—cured meat made from pork
- Aceto Balsamico DOP—famous balsamic vinagrette recipe
Friuli Venezia Giulia
The last region we’ll highlight today is the dry, rocky landscape of Friuli Venezia Giulia, which is found at the northeast corner of Italy. Being right on the border, this region’s cuisine has a variety of different cultural influences ranging from the cornmeal dough called polenta to the various soups and dumplings of Central European influence. Sausages, goose meat, and pickled vegetables and roots are also evidence of the Austrian and Slavic influences on the local cuisine.
Notable dishes include:
- Frico with asparagus tips and quail eggs
- Trieste Style Spider Crab
- Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP
- Apple Fritters
Keep a lookout for some of these regional specialties next time you’re looking for some new Italian dishes to try! A few of the more famous cured meats and cheeses are available as imports from their respective regions, but they can be pretty expensive. It’s worth it to try them at least once to see some of the best specialty dishes Italy has to offer. And keep checking in with this blog so you won’t miss the next part in this series!