On trend: Regional Italian

From Barilla.

Americans have loved Italian cuisine since the first pizza makers and pasta aficionados arrived here, and they continue to adore it; Italian food retained its #1 spot among Americans’ favorite ethnic foods in 2012. Even better, a recent trend report commissioned by Barilla and conducted by Mintel found that most consumers (56%) want to see more, and more varied, Italian dishes. The key is authenticity – sophisticated diners seek regional dishes that go beyond the generic.“Italian food is at its core a fresh, local cuisine,” says Lorenzo Boni, Corporate Chef for Barilla America. “Ingredients that grow or are raised in an area will be found on the plate.” Italy is a collection of 20 regions, though those can be grouped into Northern, Central and Southern, each of which vary in climate, culture, and cuisine – and each reliant and enlivened by the foods grown there.  Here, a look at regional ingredients found in the Northern, Central, and Southern areas of Italy:

North

Fresh egg pastas, polenta and rice, dairy products, pork sausages and cured hams, mushrooms, porcini and truffles.

Central

Semolina (wheat) pastas, lentils, chickpeas, aromatic herbs, tomatoes, beef, pork and lamb.

South

Semolina (wheat) pastas, tomatoes, peppers, spicy peperoncini, olives and olive oil, garlic, legumes, artichokes, oranges, bergamot and citron, eggplant, and capers.