Italian cuisine as a national cuisine known today has evolved from centuries of social and political change. Its roots can be traced back to 4th century BCE and into the Middle Ages which brought Arab and Norman influence to certain regions along with introduction of notable chefs such as Maestro Martino who cooked an elegant refined Italian cuisine. The cuisine significantly changed with discovery of the New World helped shape much of what is known as Italian cuisine today with introduction of items as potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper and maize, which are all central parts of the cuisine but were not introduced in scale until the 18th century.
Ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. Cheese and wine are also a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles both regionally and nationally with their many variations and Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) (regulated appellation) laws.
Coffee, and more specifically espresso has become highly important to the cultural cuisine of Italy.
1.2 Middle Ages
1.3 Early modern era
1.4 Modern era
2 Meal structure
3 Dining out
6 Holiday cuisine
Italian cuisine has evolved extensively over the centuries. Although the country known as Italy today had not officially formed until the 19th century, the cuisine can claim roots going back as far as 4th century BC. Through various influences throughout the centuries, including neighboring regions, conquerors, high-profile chefs, political upheavals as well as the discovery of the New World, a concrete cuisine has formed to what is known today as one of the...