Italian food is tasty and healthy. Italian cuisine is another Italian attraction and rightly considered among the world's finest and most loved. Since different regions have different specialties, it is advisable to seek out «typical» restaurants and trattorias. Main meal menus generally start with antipasto (hors d'oœuvre), soup or pasta (spaghetti or its variant), meat or fish, vegetable or salad and cheese, fruit or sweets. Italian cheeses are famous and excellent, as are Italian wines. The best known are Chianti, Frascati Valpolicella, Bardolino, Barolo, Barbera, Grignolino, Merlot and some of the wines of Sicily and Sardinia.
A trip to Italy is also an extremely pleasant culinary adventure, a journey of discovery into one of the most renowned cuisines in the world. Wherever you go, every large restaurant or modest "trattoria" may well turn out to be a gourmet's paradise.
Each region is rich in culinary tradition and features its own specialties, creating a unique and extremely varied cuisine. In fact, It would be more correct to refer to Italy's cuisine as a combination of many regional dishes rather than just to Italian gastronomy as a whole.
Some recipes, passed down from generation to generation and formerly considered basic, have become the mainstay of a balanced modem diet, the famous and highly appreciated Mediterranean cuisine. Among these specialties we find "polenta" (boiled cornmeal) from Northern Italy, which is usually served with cheese, or braised or stewed meats.
Lombardy offers a most renowned saffron rice. Rice in Italy is prepared in a great many ways, thus, you may happen to find it with peas or asparagus, with prawns or mussels, with truffles or with champagne .
Rome and Naples offer the best in pasta with sauces of plain tomatoes, vegetables or fish. Notable as well are the soups or minestroni cooked with every imaginable garden vegetable and enhanced by a dash of prime olive oil from Tuscany. There are rich olive harvests in Italy arid a large quantity of oil is produced.
And what about pizza? It originated in Naples and is garnished nowadays with the most varied ingredients. It used to be prepared only with tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies and olive oil. It has now become a quick and informal snack worldwide, suitable any hour of the day.