Should we choose pizza, pasta or lasagna? Or maybe fondue, raclette or rösti? Anyone in the world who loves to eat would unmistakably recognize three popular representatives of Italian cuisine in the three dishes listed first. The other three culinary offerings are a greater mystery to some of the people, but actually these dishes have a thing in common and that is the fact that they are part of Alpine cuisine. However, it is clear to connoisseurs that both culinary traditions deserve a lot of attention, and choosing between Alpine or Italian cuisine is a difficult thing. You can make sure of this by visiting the Leonardo Restaurant and the Fondue Restaurant in the town of Bansko.
Traditional Italian cuisine is a real treasure and any meal is a type of ritual and a sacred time to socialize with friends and relatives. The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest, and the Italian dishes at every restaurant are made with fresh products.
The Italians themselves are real gourmet lovers and they recognize only the best quality in their food. For example, according to them, it is a bad taste to prepare frozen fish or not to have freshly baked bread. Although only a certain number of dishes, such as pasta, pizza, ravioli, lasagna, and a few others, have gained worldwide popularity, hundreds of variations of each one of these dishes exist. Only the varieties of pasta are more than 300. In Italy, there are over five hundred varieties of cheese, three hundred types of meat products. And in order to better open the taste buds, wine lovers can choose from two thousand varieties. However, this country is known not only for the highest quality products. Most Italians are great cooks. The Italian cuisine they created is unique, diverse and inimitable.
Modern Italian cuisine is divided into two parts. The first is the haute, classic, la cucina classica. This is a legacy of the old aristocratic culture that has mastered some elements of French culinary traditions. Another, no less intriguing, is the cuisine of the hosts (la cucina casalinga), of the peasants and the citizens – the bourgeois (la cucina borghese), which follows local traditions. It should be emphasized that the culinary traditions in the different regions of Italy are very different. Each region has its own types of pasta, meat products, cheese and wine, just as each region has its own recipes for salads, soups, stews, breads, pastries and desserts. Despite the abundant choice, if you decide to feast on Italian, you should definitely focus on some of the most popular specialties of the Boot, among which are the mandatory pasta, pizza, ravioli and spaghetti. The well-known chicken Parmesan, bruschetti with tomatoes, olive oil and olives, Caprese salad are also not to be underestimated, and tiramisu is a must for dessert.
And is there anything in common between these two rival cuisines – Italian and Alpine? First, we should not forget that some regions of northern Italy are also part of the Alps and have their own culinary specificity. With respect to the people of Italy and the alpine countries, in terms to the products used, there is a common passion for cheese, as well as for the simple, quality and delicious food.
The Alpine culinary tradition is influenced by the culinary habits in the mountainous regions of Austria, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy. Characteristic of alpine dishes is that they consist of a small number of high quality products, including meat, potatoes and dairy products. One of the most attractive representatives of Swiss cuisine is fondue. Fondue is the most popular dish in many restaurants and homes in the country, and it is made from pieces of cheese melted with white wine in a special cooking pot. It is consumed by dipping bread cubes in the creamy mixture.
Raclette is another popular dish in the mountain areas, also based on cheese, which is very tempting, especially in the winter season. It is served hot with cooked potatoes, and it can also be combined with sausages. Potatoes are also the main product of another Swiss culinary pride – rösti. Grated baked potatoes can be served as a solo dish or as a side dish.
We can talk a lot about the qualities and variety of Alpine and Italian cuisine. However, it is always better to try dishes of these cuisines than just talk.