Nothing can match the unique taste of authentic Italian cuisine in River Valley. For the people who are having it for the first time or the people who enjoy the dishes regularly, they would find a connection to the richness of Italian food, if the food made well. If not properly made, they can also tell the difference in the taste of the food and just by their appearance.
To make Italian food from scratch and making it good can be a daunting task for any newcomers and old veterans in River Valley. The newcomers don’t want to ruin the dishes, and the veterans want to stick true to the authentic taste that the dish offers. One of the unique things, if not, the most important unique thing, about Italian dishes are the carefully selected ingredients that go into making one. Every ingredient in an Italian dish is carefully examined to know the true nature of the ingredients, where it lacks flavor, what other ingredients can fill up that space with its own flavor.
It is the job of an Italian chef in River Valley to know all of these things beforehand to execute in the kitchen without any mistake. Ingredients such as Olive oil, it gets used in Italian food all the time. It adds the authenticate taste of an Italian dish and also by being healthy to consume. There is a saying that cooking with ingredients that are taken from the same region will result in a better taste.
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Garlic, pasta, tomatoes, basil add the true nature of an Italian dish to the surface. What is so fascinating about these ingredients, that they are very common, and on the right hand they can bring more to the dish than thousands of rare material combined. A clove of garlic will bring all the hidden flavors from the dish, but can’t say the same thing to jarred garlic. Tomatoes, nearly every pizza, and spaghetti ever made on this planet have used tomatoes in one way or another. Basil, is another iconic ingredient in making Margherita pizza. There is a reason why the word basil is synonymous with King of herbs.
Another widely used ingredient in the Italian dishes are Rosemary, basil may be called King of herbs, but rosemary is known to be the queen. Rosemary really shines in a perfectly made risotto.
No Italian dish in River Valley would complete without the inclusion of wine. Wine in an Italian culture takes a significant role in making the cuisines and adds many more flavors to the dish. The wine gets used in the Italian dish is drinking wines, not cooking ones. If any ingredient doesn’t bring its own flavor then it is better left alone. Adding wine to a dish has long been a cultural identity for the Italians. If the wine isn’t fit to drink, then it would be no use in the making of an Italian dish, if used, then it wouldn’t be a genuine Italian product.
Yes Italy is famous for its history. Yes Italy is a famous tourist destination and Italians are very famous for their lifestyle too. But is that all you know of Italy? No, of course you must have heard of the famous Italian cuisine and must have tasted the mouth watering Spaghetti Bolognese or Panini with rich tomatoes and basil. Italian cuisine is famous globally and is very easy to cook too. Every country you visit you will come across an Italian restaurant and Italian fashion.
The villas surrounding the mountains of Tuscany and the outskirts of Rome offer some great holidays where you can taste the famous wines and Italian food. One can learn to cook Italian dishes while you are here. Makes a great place for holiday.
Today more and more people prefer to spend their holidays in Italy and neighboring regions and more often you see the young crowd who are interested in cooking making a beeline to these places. The air tickets getting cheaper by the day has helped increase the traffic to this region and made it affordable for people.
You will find that most of the cottages and villas where you are likely to stay are all situated close to the airport and doesn't take long to reach. You can make a request and they often do send a car to meet you at the airport.
Holidays are made to suit different budgets and can be short ones lasting a few days to longer ones lasting a few weeks. Cooking sessions are a part of such holidays too.
Depending upon your availability of time and budget you can choose between a short holiday of a week or longer holiday comprising of a few weeks. Cooking sessions are included in both.
Once you have done your booking, you can look forward to spending days under the guidance of Italian chefs at the villa and learning to cook Italian dishes the Italian way. End of the day you can enjoy your dinner with the dishes you have cooked and sample your own cooking with wine thrown in of course.
While you are learning to cook authentic Italian food and dishes, use the opportunity to have fun and exercise too. Explore the surrounding areas and indulge in water sports and other activities and enjoy your holiday.
You can either spend a few days learning cooking and then explore other cities and town by extending your holiday and trying out different things or you can stay in the quiet villas learning and noting down recipes of more Italian dishes that can help you become a world class Italian chef or a restaurateur tomorrow.
Cooking with these ingredients in a perfectly well manner style to bring out the richness of the ingredient is like learning a new language by normal interaction. The more you interact with others, the more you will get better at speaking. The same method can be applied here, learning Italian cuisine is a lot like learning a new language. And each ingredient becomes the grammar and the vocabulary for your final dish, which can be seen as a sentence in this metaphor.
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The first thing to do before starting to cook with the ingredients you have is to limit them. Almost all Italian dishes use a finite amount of ingredients to make the dish, overloading with unnecessary spices will put out the subtle taste of the natural ingredients. Learning the value of each of the ingredients will help you know their weaknesses and strength, finding a better ingredient to fill the weakness of another is the step to become a great Italian restaurant in River Valley.
The second thing to do is to make sure every ingredient in the pantry is fresh and well-seasoned. This process really helps to bring the dish closer to the authentic Italian dish that we know and love.
When cooking pasta, make sure to leave it a little undercooked, so the pasta can still have the bite factor. Otherwise, everything on the plate would be soggy and wet. Frequent tasting the pasta before serving will help you get to know the dish better and understand the time management of the sogginess of the pasta.
It seems as if there are so many terms denoting Italian and you can hardly tell which from which. For instance, there are Sicilian restaurants. They are still Italian but somehow, they are called differently. You also have Venezian restaurants which are as Italian as the former, but most of the time both restaurants have very different dishes. This is because although we know all these restaurants as Italian, Italy has a number of regions. For every region, they have developed a certain way of cooking their food and they prefer their dishes in a different way that their neighboring regions. This numerous regional cuisines make up for a diverse Italian cuisine which can be both fun but confusing at the same time.
One of the famous regional cuisines is Tuscan cuisine. No doubt you have actually seen yourself staring at a restaurant that included the word Tuscan. From this region comes the city of Florence or Firenze in Italian. This city, aside from being the site of the world renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa, is also known for its local cuisine. Just like the general theme of the region's cuisine, Firenze cuisine is very simple. In the city, there is no prize waiting for experimentation. The Florentines like their food just the way their forefathers did.
If you enter a Firenze restaurant, you probably will see the word "ribollita" on the menu. This dish is a local variation of the dish called minestrone. The soup includes the freshest produce like carrots, potatoes, black cabbage and the Italian Cannellini beans (white kidney beans). This is soup is boiled twice to make it thicker and more flavorful, and is usually served with croutons or Tuscan bread. A nice drizzle of Olive Oil on top completes the very hearty soup.
Another Tuscan specialty is the "bistecca alla florentina" or the Florentine style beefsteak. This dish is made with either a T-bone or porterhouse steak which was traditionally obtained from the cattle of Chianina or Meremmana. This large piece of steak is seasoned with nothing else but salt, black pepper and olive oil, and then grilled using either wood or charcoal. Because this steak is too big for one person, with its standard weight being 1200 grams, this dish is usually shared among two people. The steak is traditionally served rare with a side dish of Tuscan beans and enjoyed with red wine.
Italian cuisine has a long history. Some food historians believe it can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, although the collapse of the Roman Empire means that we do not have a lot of information about the eating habits of those eras.
So there is no clear evidence for the origins of Italy's most famous food, pasta. Some historians believe that it could date back to Roman times, or even earlier. However, others suggest that it may have arrived from the Orient, introduced by Marco Polo in the thirteenth century.
This remained for many years a lower class food, usually boiled and eaten with just a small garnish of cheese. However, a minor culinary revolution was launched when Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas with tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans and much, much more.
These foods, steadily introduced around the Mediterranean region, grew readily in the hot Italian climate, and after a time they were being mixed with local ingredients and incorporated into all manner of dishes, leading to the Italian cuisine that we know today.
What are the characteristics of this cuisine? Fresh produce and high-quality ingredients are the essence of Italian cooking. Foods are generally prepared in a simple manner that emphasizes taste. Olives and olive oil feature in numerous dishes.
And why is it so healthy? Certainly the abundant use of olive oil is a key factor. Italy's long coastline is another reason -- fresh fish features prominently in local cooking. The regular use of pulses, along with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, is important. Meat is eaten sparingly. Wine is consumed, but together with meals and in moderation.
There is more, but those are the basics. Eat like an Italian, do regular exercise and enjoy a balanced social and family life, and you could be on the way to a much healthier lifestyle.
You can follow all the rules in the textbook to create a perfect Italian dish but you won’t reach the final stage of an Italian dish without putting your heart in it. It is never about pleasing the crowd with Italian dishes, it has always been sticking to the original recipe, you can have all the ingredients but it won’t be complete without putting the heart and soul in cooking. Knowing who you are cooking for, what do they like the most, then creating the dish made especially for them will taste better.
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Italian cuisine has a huge variety of dishes and drinks: because Italy was not officially unified until 1861, and its cuisines reflect the cultural variety of its regions and its diverse history (with influences from Greek, Roman, Gaelic, Germanic, Goth, Norman, Lombard, Frank, Turkish, Hebrew, Slavic, Arabic and Chinese cuisines). Italian cuisine is savored in every corner of the world.
In a way, there is really no such thing as Italian cuisine in the way that people usually understand national cuisines. Each region has its own specialties. Italian cuisine is not only highly regionalized, it is also very seasonal. The high priority placed on the use of fresh, seasonal produce distinguishes the Italian cuisine from imitations available in most other countries.
Roman cuisine, for instance, uses a lot of pecorino (cheese made from sheep's milk) and offal, while Tuscan cuisine includes white beans, meat, and bread. Pizza making also varies throughout the country, the pizza crusts in Rome are thin and crispy, while Neapolitan pizza and Sicilian pizza have a thicker crust. The influence of Northern Italian cuisine can be seen in French and German cuisines. Piedmont and Lombardy each grow their own different kinds of rice, which are used to make risotto. The North of Italy is the home of polenta. Emilia-Romagna is known for lasagna and tortellini (stuffed pasta), Naples (Napoli) is the home of pizza, mozzarella cheese and pastries. Calabria's cuisine uses a lot of hot pepper in its renowned salami (which is common, in several varieties, throughout the country) and uses capsicum. Sicily is the home of ice cream but its cuisine also has many influences from Arab cuisine (lemon, pistachio) and also includes fish (tuna, swordfish). Sardinia is famous for lamb and pecorino.
Northern and Southern Italian cooking
Traditional Italian cuisine varies from region to region and does not follow North-South tendencies. Northern and southern Italian cuisines can be differentiated, primarily, by the north using more butters and creams and the south more tomato and olive oil. Generally, however, there is a strong difference between the regional use of cooking fat and traditional style of pasta. Inland northern and northeastern regions usually prefer more butter, cream, polenta, mascarpone, grana padano, and parmigian cheeses, risotto, lasagna and fresh egg pasta. Coastal northern and central regions are more of a link between north and south and often use tortellini, ravioli and are known for great prosciutto. The southern regions are known for mozzarella, caciocavallo, and pecorino cheeses, olive oil, and dried pasta. Southern Italian cuisine also uses the ubiquitous tomato.
Types of Italian coffee
Italian coffee (caffè), also known as espresso, which is a strong coffee prepared by forcing the hot water through finely ground coffee beans at high pressure. It is usually served in relatively small amount. Caffè macchiato is covered with a bit of steamed milk or whip cream; caffè ristretto is made with less water, and is stronger. Cappuccino is mixed or topped with steamed, mostly foamy, milk. It is generally considered a morning drink. Caffelatte is usually equal parts of espresso and steamed milk, like café au lait, and is typically served in a large cup. Latte macchiato (spotted milk) is a glass of warm milk with a bit of coffee.
We cannot talk about Italian food without talking about Italian wine. Most Italian wines of great names are produced in the three main Italian regions: Piedmont (Barolo), Venetia (Amarone, Pinot Grigio, etc.) and Tuscany (Chianti, Brunello). Other great wine producing regions such as Puglie (Primitivo) and Sicily also produce some noteworthy wines.
A traditional Italian meal:
1. Antipasto - hot or cold appetizers
2. Primo ("first course"), usually consists of a hot dish like pasta, risotto, gnocchi, polenta or soup. There are usually many vegetarian options.
3. Secondo ("second course"), the main dish, usually fish or meat (pasta is never the main course of a meal). Traditionally veal is the most widely used meat, at least in the North, although beef has become more popular since World War II.
4. Contorno ("side dish") may consist of a salad or vegetables. A traditional menu features salad after the main course.
5. Dolce ("dessert")
6. Caffè ("coffee") (espresso)
7. Digestive which consists of liquors/liqueurs (grappa, amaro, limoncello) sometimes called ammazzacaffè ("Coffee killer")
Although it is said that today the traditional Italian menu is reserved for special events even as the common menu only includes the first and second course, the side dish (often joined to the second course) and coffee (if not in a hurry). One remarkable aspect of an Italian meal, especially if eaten in an Italian home, is that the primo, or first course, is usually the more substantial dish, containing most of the meal's carbohydrates, and will consist of risotto or pasta. Modern Italian cuisine also includes single courses (all-at-once courses), providing carbs and proteins altogether (e.g. pasta and vegetables).
Rushing the stages of cooking is a bad way to cook Italian food. Cooking something good takes time, if not, the dish would come off under cooked and as the dish wouldn’t have much time to fully utilize all the ingredients in it. The end result would not match the standard quality. It is recommended to savor the moment because Italian dishes are more than just average fast food.
There is a rigorous process must be followed to create a perfect Italian dish. The addition of any new ingredients might spoil the genuineness of the dish. Italian cuisines leave much more than just a taste, they offer the traditional food aroma, the very quality of taste of the ingredients, and just by being healthy. Since there is no inclusion of any chemicals to appeal to a larger audience, the food can far away from reaching for the fast-food processed taste. Authenticity adds much more value to Italian food than just being another thing to eat while hungry.
Pasta. Pizza. Yawn. Today, we are so exposed to 'Italian' food on the high street that it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Italy has a far richer edible heritage than tomato sauces and bland, made-over pastas. Perhaps the key to understanding the real beauty of Italian food is to learn about the strong - and widely differing - regional heritages.
In the North of the country, close to the rest of Europe, the pizza has achieved near hegemony. Purely a Napolitan and Roman tradition this basic bread and tomato recipe is nearly ubiquitous. Alongside the bland, heavy, cheese-laden pasta dishes that line up for our attention on supermarket shelves has frogmarched over our perceptions of Italian food, despite its most common incarnation having more in common with the kitchens of Manhattan than the simple rustic traditions of Italian food.
The really interesting side avenues of Italian food are to be found in the South of the country - where the proximity of Africa and a tradition rooted in overt poverty has resulted in an exciting clash of flavours and styles a world away from what you might expect.
Take Calabria's version of lasagna. The traditional version is turned on it's head in this region's twist on the recipe. Instead of the traditional mince and layers of flat pasta, the local cooks make a version in which tiny meatballs are layered with a delicate network of white noodles and flavoured with a rice, creamy white sauce. To add to the subtle and yet sensational taste difference, the meatballs are made from pork.
Pork is the staple meat of the region and forms the basis of many favourite dishes. Salami and cured meat - common throughout the country - is given its own twist by the use of a chilli unique to the region - the peperoncini. This small, sweet and intense chilli lends an almost arabic flavour to much of the region's food. Indeed, the fiery intensity of some of the local cuisine is a shock to the system of some people accustomed to the Italian comfort blanket of salty cheeses and tomato.
With Calabria's traditional poverty to the fore, there is a great tradition of using the entire carcass of the pig. Pig cheeks are a popular snack for example, but perhaps the most obvious example of this are the huge spit roasts in which whole adult pigs are roasted over an open charcoal pit - often as the centrepiece of celebrations such as weddings and religious festivals.
Away from the land, the region is also rich in seafood - its endless miles of heavily indented coastline creating hundreds of sheltered bays in which shellfish thrive. Tiny sweet clams are a particular favourite, forming the basis of delicate stews or simply served with pasta and allowed to speak for themselves. Returning the theme of peasant food, bacala - a form of cod heavily salted as a preservative forms the basis of many local delicacies. So salty is this delicious fish dish that it must be soaked for 24 hours before use to draw the salt out from it before it can be eaten. This unusual dish dates back to Roman times, before the establishment of a proper road network made it possible to transport fresh fish inland and keep it edible in it's natural state.
So, if you're looking to cook up something a little different for your next romantic meal or family get-together, look up the food of Calabria as a great starting point for new ideas and twists on traditional Italian food. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed with the results and it might open your eyes to a few flavour combinations you might never have happened across otherwise.