Our top 3 Italian tables
Renowned the world over for its gastronomy, Italy delights us with unmissable dishes, like its famous pasta* or its Neapolitan pizza, which is listed by UNESCO.
From north to south, the country abounds with regional specialties that are no less tasty for being local, which together making up one of the world's richest gastronomies. In the morning, for lunch or an appetiser join one of our 3 Italian dining tables and discover the exclusive accessories and proper rituals for every moment of each meal.
Italian gastronomy draws its strength from its culinary diversity.
Thanks to the natural richness of its soils and its unique climate, Italy unites all the conditions most favourable to development of its agriculture. Italy alone counts over 1,200 vineyards* and has taken 1st place in Europe for vegetable production*. A bountiful land, Italy is also recognised for the quality of its produce, like olives, of which it produces no less than 533 different varieties*.
According to Simona Restivo, of Sicilian origin and founder of Des deux Siciles, Italy also draws her culinary strength from her history. A long time divided, many times colonised and at last unified, Italy profited from different cultural influences to develop a many-flavoured gastronomy. Tomatoes and basil, to name but two, are ingredients originating from South America and Asia despite having become, over time, the symbols of Italian gastronomy.
Italians have always known how to transform produce with an almost obvious simplicity, to the point where we forget its true origin.
A source of national pride, Italian gastronomy rapidly became an integral part of Italian identity and so holds a decisive place in daily life. Patrizio Miceli, of Sicilian origin and founder of Al dente la Salsa sums it up: "Italian gastronomy is an exceptional experience: entire, convivial and warm. It allows you to create a special moment, an atmosphere. It lives! "
Times of reunion, ripe for sharing, meals are de facto synonyms of conviviality. They respond nonetheless to very particular habits which give daily rhythm to the life of Italians.
La Mattina*, for sweetness
Enjoyed as a family or sitting at the counter,
Italian breakfast is traditionally reserved for sweet dishes. First, a coffee. Italy masters to perfection the art of coffee-roasting, toasting the beans to reveal their full flavour. A veritable institution, coffee is taken either well squeezed and strong as a ristretto, or long, or softened by milk froth, called cappuccino. To satisfy all tastes, there's nothing better than a 100 % Arabica coffee like Barocco, renowned for its fruity, gentle flavour. Made in Lecce, it can be enjoyed either hot or cold, as a Lecce coffee* with some ice cubes and a drop of almond milk.
In the morning, Italians generally accompany their coffee with a pastry such as a cornetti*, the famous Italian croissant. A very creamy spread is favoured as a garnish, with chocolate-hazelnut or fruit like the flavoursome citrus cream by the Motta brothers.
In Sicily, the croissant sometimes gives way to a lovely slice of brioche "col tuppo", topped with generous balls of ice-cream.
L'aperitivo*, to whet the appetite
L'aperitivo* starts at about 6:00 p.m. Everyone loves getting together with friends around a glass of wine, prosecco* or cold beer to try a selection of snacks. Among the most typical, of course, are slices of cured ham and marinated vegetables, such as sundried tomatoes in olive oil. There are also spreads like the excellent artichoke cream with Maida extra virgin olive oil, served on toast.
In southern Italy, they also like warm preparations. Great classics like the "tavola calda*", the famous mini-pizzas and stuffed canapés are firm favourites. Hand-rolled bread sticks and arallini* baked in a wood-burning oven are also much appreciated for their crunchiness.
Fond of seafood, Italians are also great lovers of baby octopus and squid, which they serve marinated or simply grilled.
La Domenica*, the family reunion
Fabulous family meal, Sunday lunch brings everyone together for the preparation as much as for the meal itself! Generous, it is traditionally made up of several dishes. Before the starter, there are some antipasti, between a plate of cured meats, grilled vegetables and seafood to whet the appetite.
Then comes a first course of pasta, presented as a starter. Pasta: short or long? Such is the dilemma of the first dish. So it is not uncommon to offer two types of pasta to satisfy all tastes.Tuna sauces, with yellow tomatoes or cuttlefish ink are among the possibilities that further vary the flavours.
As a second course, traditionally a meat or fish dish, served with vegetables. This feast often concludes with an assortment of sweets, from Pasticceria Mignone* and cannoli* filled with ricotta.
The cantuccini*, crunchy almond biscuits, accompany the ultimate coffee break... before the next meal.
- A Tavola ! : Dinner’s ready!
- Pasta : the pastas
- La Mattina : the morning
- Café de Leccese : cold coffee served with ice-cubes and almond milk
- Cornetti : Italian croissants, filled or plain
- L’aperitivo : the aperitif
- Prosecco : sparkling Italian wine
- Tavola calda : warm table
- Tarallini : small salted biscuits from Puglia
- La Domenica : Sunday
- Pasticceria Mignone : assortment of small, sweet cakes
- Cannoli : sweet biscuits usually filled with ricotta cream
- Cantuccini : Tuscan crunchy almond biscuits
* 2015 Data