The Best of Italy’s Food and Wine Destinations Part 1: Tuscany and Lazio
If you’d like to vacation in Italy, it is likely one of the reasons it interests you is the cuisine. And if one is to fly halfway around the world to see a foreign land, you may as well make sure you are seeing the best it has to offer. And before you can make sure you are seeing the best, you must understand some things. Firstly, Italy has had a huge number of influences. We covered some of these ancient influences at different points. But for much of its history it was not one unified state, but rather a collection of loosely associated city-states, some republics and some essentially monarchies, each had unique cultures. And the byproducts and influences that each city-state had on the region as a whole were also obviously unique. Certain areas were known for perfecting certain types of food types. In fact, there is 20 regions in Italy, and each one has their own types of cooking. We will be going over some destinations from different regions and what they have to offer in terms of culture, food, and wine in between your adventures in the amazing landscape.
Tuscany, located in the Midwest area of the country, has long been a vacation destination for all the world. The town has housed visitors since the days of the Romans. The olive trees and vineyards date back to the first settlers nearly 3,000 years ago. Tuscany does not allow for fast growth of food, but instead slowly grows, allowing the aroma and flavor to permeate every fiber of the product. Tuscany is widely known for their pasta sauce that utilizes a variety of meat, and focuses heavily on the use of herbs, especially garlic and parsley. Tuscany is located along the sea, meaning that there has been a constant presence of seafood in the diet and recipes used there. Regardless of the dish, they rely heavily on the use of a variety to make their unique flavors. This means vegetables, herbs, meats and sauces all work together to create the aroma and taste. With the history of Tuscany being what it is, their desserts date back to the festive celebrations of the Romans and its early collection of city-states.
Lazio is most well-known for housing the city of Rome itself, and because of this containing a long history of cultural development. The cities are bustling, and the countryside is peaceful. It is mainly occupied by farmers, raising mainly sheep, goats and pigs, along with growing vegetables and grains. This has the unique effect of meaning that most cheese and milk is made from the goats, which directly influences the taste of their dishes. Most dishes rely heavily on all of these, meaning pasta, cheese, milk, meat and vegetables. The dishes however, are not like the rest of the peninsula. These dishes have a unique flavoring, with more focus on local produce than other areas.
Join us for part two for the low-down on Campania and Lombardy!