Made in Italy food, 10 flagship foods
Made in Italy food, 10 flagship foods
Made in Italy in terms of food is synonymous with quality, variety, and excellence. Suffice it to say that our country boasts the largest number of PDO and PGI certifications in the entire European Union.
Here are 10 foods that are the jewels of Italian eating.
The Pachino PGI tomato is divided into 4 varieties: cherry, ribbed, smooth round, and bunch. The production area is located in the provinces of Syracuse and Ragusa, where high temperatures, exposure to the sun, the composition of the soil, and the salinity of the irrigation water give the tomato a sweet flavor, consistency and crunchiness of the pulp, shine of the fruit and the ability to keep for a long time. A study by the University of Messina published in Food Chemistry analyzed samples of PGI and non-PGI tomatoes. A notable difference emerged with respect to the presence of zinc manganese and calcium in favor of PGIs.
It has medium-small leaves, the scent is delicate, and has no hint of mint. Genoese DOP basil is grown throughout the maritime side of Liguria and it is the essential ingredient for making true Genoese pesto: unlike other varieties, it does not tend to blacken once crushed in the mortar. Its composition of essential oils, due to the characteristics of the territory, is in fact different from all other areas of the world. As revealed by a study by the University of Naples published in Foods in 2022, Genoese basil was shown to have more polyphenols and greater antioxidant activity than the common Italian variety.
- Lentils from Castelluccio di Norcia PGI
It has always been cultivated on the karst plains of Castelluccio, within the Sibillini Mountains National Park, at a height of approximately 1,500 meters. Thanks to the rather harsh climatic conditions in which it is born, the lentil di Castelluccio does not need to be treated for conservation. Its unique taste also depends on traditional cultivation methods, the same for centuries, which involve completely natural fertilization and slow drying. Another characteristic is the thin and tender skin which makes it very digestible, even by those who normally tolerate legumes poorly.
- Red Onion of Tropea Calabria PGI
The mild climate, without sudden changes in temperature during the winter period, is certainly one of the reasons why the red onion from Tropea is much sweeter than a normal onion. This is not because it has a higher sugar content, but because of a lower presence of pyruvic acid which makes the flavor less pungent and lets the natural sugars shine through. A Norwegian study published in Agricultural and Food Chemistry compared the flavonoid content of many types of onions from all over the world and the red onion from Tropea was found to be the variety with a quantity of quercitina powerful antioxidant, superior to others.
It is characterized by a low level of acidity and high values of two freshness parameters: bitter and spicy. These peculiar notes of Puglia oil are due to the richness of polyphenols including oleuropein, which also have strong antioxidant powers on our body with beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and beyond. Some studies by the University of Bologna and the Institute of Pharmacological Sciences of Milan have shown that oleuropein contributes to the release of nitric oxide, which has a vasodilatory power and is therefore capable of lowering blood pressure. Oleuropein also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
Much is known about this king among Italian cheeses: rich in proteins, calcium, and other precious minerals and vitamins, it is a truly “restorative” food. However, few know that can lower blood pressure thanks to the presence of tripeptides. A study conducted by the hypertension operational unit of the Guglielmo da Saliceto hospital in Piacenza together with the Institute of Food and Nutrition Sciences of the Catholic University, demonstrated, against placebo, that by administering 30 g per day for 60 days of Grana Padano PDO aged for 12 months, a drop of 7-8 mmHg is obtained in the systolic pressure (the maximum), and of 5-7 mmHg in the diastolic pressure (the minimum).
- Bresaola della Valtellina PGI
Highly chosen cuts of meat and meticulous processing according to the specifications that regulate its production. And then the family secrets passed down from generation to generation in the addition of aromas. This is how bresaola was born, a true record-breaking cured meat: the richest in proteins, the lowest in fats, and the richest in tryptophan, which together with the high quantity of B vitamins, support the nervous system and mood. Tryptophan, in fact, is a precursor of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. For all these reasons, as revealed by a recent survey, 53% of Italians eat this cured meat at least once a week.
Type 0 Tuscan soft wheat flour, natural yeast, water. Tuscan DOP bread is born from these three simple ingredients. Perhaps not everyone knows that it is bread produced with “whole” flour: during the milling of the wheat, a complex process of crushing the grain is carried out in which the germ, rich in vitamin E, remains an integral part. This type of bread, being bland or silly, goes perfectly with tasty dishes such as cured meats and mature cheeses and with any type of soup. And then it has a plus, conservation: it can also be kept for 6 or 7 days, without mold forming, thanks to its leavening with sourdough.
- Baraggia Biellese and Vercellese DOP rice
It is the first and only Italian DOP rice. It is grown in an area, the Baraggia, in the provinces of Vercelli and Biella, in clay-rich, compact soils poor in humus. The irrigation of crops takes place thanks to the waterways of the Alps and Pre-Alps, rich in elements that nourish and characterize the varieties of Baraggia rice: Arborio, Carnaroli, Baldo, S. Andrea. The climate, always airy and fresh, also plays its part. This speeds up the formation of the grains during maturation, giving them a smaller size and greater compactness, which guarantees perfect sealing during cooking.
- Colfiorito PGI red potato
Of Dutch origin, this tuber with its unmistakable red skin can be grown at an altitude equal to or greater than 470 meters in an area between the eastern area of the province of Perugia and the western part of the province of Macerata. In fact, it prefers rainy areas, sandy soils, and low temperatures and also has excellent resistance to parasites and diseases. The peel is intact, the pulp is firm and crunchy. It is used in many preparations: boiled for the preparation of gnocchi and bread, roasted and fried, where it probably gives its best.