The Italian cuisine, its dishes, its ingredients, are now known all over the world. But there are still some typical local products that are not so famous. They are regional, niche products that derive from small productions and ancient traditions.
We have searched for 5 of them that we want to introduce you to:
Pesto Pantesco: everyone knows the famous Genoese Pesto, made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil. But there is one much less famous but equally tasty, fragrant and aromatic. The pesto pantesco is one of the specialties of the Sicilian island of Pantelleria, a mix of flavours of the land including tomatoes, Pantelleria capers, aromatic herbs (basil, parsley, oregano), chopped almonds, garlic, chilli pepper and extra virgin olive oil. A fresh and summer seasoning, an explosion of flavours that binds perfectly with a bruschetta, a plate of spaghetti or grilled fish.
Pizzoccheri: in Italy there are countless pasta shapes, sometimes different in the various regions, many of which are little known. Some are closely related to the region of production, such as the Pizzoccheri of Valtellina. Prepared only with buckwheat flour and water, they have a format similar to noodles. Typical mountain product, with a compact and rough consistency, they are eaten seasoned with boiled chopped potatoes, cabbage, butter, cheese and pepper. Together with these ingredients, they create a rich dish, suitable for winter temperatures, to try with a glass of Valtellina wine.
Chinotto: it is a citrus, little known abroad because it is grown only in Liguria, Tuscany, Calabria, Sicily and the French Cote d’Azur. It produces small, orange, bitter and acidic fruits, which are used to make jams, syrups and drinks. It is precisely a drink, called Chinotto as the fruit, its most traditional and extensive use. Generally carbonated, slightly bitter, with a special and refreshing taste, it is loved by Italian adults and children.
The Apulian taralli: typical of the Apulian gastronomic tradition, the taralli are an inevitable product in every home in this region. With a simple recipe, they are still often handmade today only with flour, water, extra virgin olive oil and white wine. They can be tasted as an aperitif or as a snack, or together with cold cuts and cheeses instead of bread. Tasty, crunchy and crumbly, they can be flavoured with other ingredients as chilli pepper, olives, fennel seeds, etc.
Alchermes: let’s close this short list with a liqueur, the Archermes, typical Italian and born in Florence in the eighteenth century. With its characteristic pink colour, it is widely used for the production of typical sweets and pastry creams, in particular the ‘zuppa inglese’ (typical Italian dessert!), made with sponge cake soaked in this liqueur and custard.
We advise you to find and try these particular Italian products; it is just a small list to start knowing all that nature, combined with the Italian tradition, can offer you.