Food for thought on Italy’s most beloved food

Karin Matthee


Pizza as we know it today originated in Naples. When Queen Margherita of Italy visit Naples in the late 1800’s she called Raffaele Esposito, a chef that made the first pizza with tomato, cheese and other toppings, to make this dish that she saw so many of her subjects eating. The local entrepreneur served her the pizza with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes and she liked it so much that Esposito named the pizza “Pizza Margherita”. I bet the Queen did not think this “peasant bread” would become such a great phenomenon it is today.


Italians are ironically not huge rice eaters, with all their pasta and carb-loaded dishes, but they are however the largest rice producers in Europe as Lombardy and Piedmont are Italy’s rice bowl. So, on that note Italy, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”


When bright coloured gelatos attract you, it is most probably not the real deal. Traditional gelato is much duller and more flavourful than industrial ice cream or gelato with added preservatives making the gelato so flashy, wavy-topped and colourful but are not quality gelato by law. If fruit flavours are in season, real authentic gelato stands/ shops wil display the ingredient list of the gelato flavours.


Tiramisú directly translates from the Italian language meaning “Pick me up”, “cheer me up” or “lift me up”. This does not take me by surprise given the comforting ingredients to make this dish, it has a well-deserved name. So just remember that next time you’re feeling a bit down order some Tiramisu and it might just brighten up your whole day.

Italian Coffee

Italians are deeply protective of their country’s reputation as the Coffee capital of the world and they despise American-styled coffee, which they regard as a dull Black broth and they mock at Americans attempts to replicate espresso. However, the truth is that America and Italy have traded in coffee products and rituals for nearly a century, globalizing the coffee culture.

Pastry and Baked Goods

Nuns and monks introduced pastries to Italy. Nuns baked pastries from ancient recipes and sold them to the locals to do fundraising and to support themselves. Nuns of the Naples region were famous for their pastries and by the 17th century each convent had their own specialty of baked goods. These nuns ultimately invented the base of Italian pastries.

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