Northern Italian cuisine, as opposed to Italian cuisine of the South has a markedly different history. The primary difference is in the way it’s prepared, as well as the ingredients. Northern Italian cuisine centers on the country’s three regions: Milan, Tuscan, and Alpesco. In this article we’ll look at the regional variations found in Tuscan cuisine, as well as some of the foods and beverages of Northern Italy.
Tuscan cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of olive oil, butter, cheese, hazelnuts, wild game, fresh fruits, herbs, vinegar, and seafood. Seafood is particularly popular, especially sardines and macaroni and cheese. Tuscan herbs include Rosemary, thyme, garlic, oregano, basil, and oregano. Many other herbs, berries, and spices are commonly used. Also, wine and cheese are widely used.
Tuscan specialties differ greatly according to region. While there is a common diet of meats, fish, vegetables, salads, carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, desserts are few and far between, with the common exception of agnolotti (quick breads). Fish is eaten liberally, but not too often, red meat is usually avoided because of its high fat content. Common breads are flatbreads, quicottas (fondue), and panettone (pastries).
Tuscan desserts include migliorettima, an incredible dessert of shaved ice covered in chocolate, fudge, cherries, pistachios, nuts, dates, raisins, and whipped cream. Other desserts include portal, conchiglieres, puddings, strudels, fettuccini, tiramisu, and gelato. Many chefs specializing in Tuscan cooking create unusual desserts using exotic fruits, nuts, and spices. For example, some Italian cooks in the North use pomegranate seeds to make a light drink made with sparkling wines. A more traditional dessert is migliorettima, a pudding made from pine nuts, dates, and sugar.
Pizza is one of the most popular foods in Italy, and it’s adored by Americans (and even their dogs) for good reason. The most famous pizza in Italy is the Neapolitan pizza, which was created in the City of Naples and is made from a mixture of prosciutto, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, and herbs. Another famous pizza is the New York style pizza, which is a Sicilian recipe originated in the Po Valley. The most popular pizzas of northern Italy are the Barolo and the Margherita. Pizzas are served with typical Italian ingredients such as tomatoes, fresh vegetables, pasta, meat, salami, onions, bell peppers, peas, and capers. Some pizzas are made with ingredients from all over Italy, while others are distinctly local.
Vegetarians can experience the tastes of authentic Italian food. In the north of Italy, there is a region called the Sardinian Coast where there are no animal meats, only sheep, rabbits, goats, chickens, and eggs. Seafood is also popular in this area, being especially abundant on the island of Sardinia. Fish and poultry are eaten throughout the country; however, meat is eaten on the island of Corsica and in the Adriatic Sea.