Discovered in a Latin text from the central Italian town, Gaeta (which at the time was a part of the Byzantine Empire), the word ‘pizza’ first appeared in 997 AD.
However, although this international staple has now been around for over a thousand years, modern Italian cuisine is dominated by pasta.
Characterized by dozens of shapes - spaghetti (thin rods), fusilli (swirls), rigatoni (tubes), lasagna (sheets) and many others - Italian cuisine adds a great variety of ingredients to their pasta; ranging from meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, potatoes, rice, corn, sausages, a tantalizing array of sauces and an abundance of cheeses and tomatoes.
Despite the variety of ingredients used overall, Italian pasta dishes on their own are traditionally characterised by their simplicity, focusing on a few ingredients at a time (preferred fresh).
A traditional meal in Italy typically consists of four or five courses - particularly on weekends. Considered an opportunity to spend quality time together with family and friends, meals are considered a social event and can last for hours. But of course, in response to the demands of modern working society, a typical weekday Italian meal can be just two courses, with a side dish and the de rigeur wine, followed by a glorious Italian espresso coffee.
The magnificent espresso was invented by an Italian - Angelo Moriondo of Turin, Italy. Granted a patent in 1884 for a “new steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage”. Moriondo deserves international recognition for providing many millions around the world with that delicious jolt that never fails to satisfy.
Back to that ubiquitous Italian culinary stalwart, the pizza.
Modern pizza is fairly new, having evolved from flatbread recipes of the late 18th to early 19th century. And it wasn’t until 1889 that tomatoes attained a primary role in the pizza.
Legend contends that royal pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created three different pizzas in honour of the Italian Queen Margherita. Apparently, the one she loved most featured the colours of the Italian flag - red (tomato), green, (basil) and white (mozzarella). Hence, the internationally renowned, pizza margherita
The involvement (or as we may say the passion) of North America and especially the people of Toronto for the Italian cuisine began a while ago, and it has not only increased but has also paved way for culinary enthusiasts to set up their own cafes and small-scale restaurants in various locales including but not limited to Mississauga, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, St. Cathartines. Be it wholesale Italian food, Italian specialty foods, authentic Italian spices or Italian restaurant food products, the love for Italian cuisine is still going strong and will surely grow in future, or as the saying goes, ‘Pizza makes anything possible!’
All this talk put you in the mood for some Italian food?
Then don't miss out on our Italian Collection! You'll find everything you need to prepare delicious Italian dishes!