Have you been looking up “best Italian food near me” online? Sure, with the influx of Italian products in the market, it can be hard to tell the difference between a fake product or a real one, especially if you are buying from Italian Grocery stores near you online. It’s important to first have education about Italian products before venturing out to purchase them.
Cultural History of Italian Foods
Italy’s cuisine was heavily influenced by many civilizations that occupied the land. When Italy was occupied by the Roman Empire, a variety of foods such as pheasants, peacock, cured meats, pork sausages, and a lot of seafood were introduced into Italian cuisine. There was a growth in the variety of crops grown as well. Asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, apricots, and even cherries were grown in Italy itself. After the Roman empire fell, each Italian region began to specialize in its own types of cuisine.
Greek cuisine influenced Southern Italy, and so did Arab culture. When the Barbarians occupied parts of Italy, they introduced stuffed pies and pastries, and roasted meats. etc
Apart from the invasions that influenced Italian cuisines, so did the geographical proximity of each area. Southern Italy didn’t see the massive growth in cattle. However, they had their fair share of pigs, lambs, and goats. Olive trees were more commonly grown in Southern Italy as it was home to rocky mountainous terrains. Coastal regions enjoyed an abundance of seafood such as anchovies, lobster, sardines, and swordfish. Northern Italy gave birth to German-influenced foods such as risottos, polenta, gnocchi, cheese, and prosciutto. Tomatoes were introduced to Italy by the South Americans.
Ever since the Roman invasion – Italy has taken to curing meats. They have endorsed salting, smoking, air-drying beef, venison, pork, and wild boar to be consumed over a year.
Real Italian Products vs Fake Italian Products
As seen above, the purity of produce and meats are a huge part of Italian cuisine culture. They are priced all over the world and even grated within Italy with regard to their quality and purity. So, how can you trust that each product that claims to be Italian at your nearest Italian grocery stores online or on the streets, is actually selling you legitimate items sourced from the heart of Italy?
Some Tell-Tale Signs of Fake Italian Food
Not many of those interested in Italian cuisine will get the opportunity to live in Italy, studying the cuisine with first-hand experience. This is why these tell-tale signs are one of the most useful ways of telling the difference between authentically Italian products and fake ones.
- Name of the Ingredient/Dish: One of the easiest ways of being able to tell the difference between fake and real Italian dishes or ingredients while looking for Italian food grocery stores online is simply by its name. If the name says Italian or has an -Italian Style in it, then you can be certain that it may not be. The use of the word Italian is frowned upon by true Italians, especially because ingredients and dishes are region-specific and not nation-specific. So, expect anything that addresses itself as authentically Italian, Italian, or even Italian-style to not be truly Italian.
- Number of Ingredients in a dish: As a general rule of thumb, Italians prefer to use recipes that have no more than 6 or 7 ingredients. That is including the use of salt and pepper. If a recipe calls for more than seven ingredients, doubt its authenticity ardently.
- Use of Non-Italian Ingredients: Another way to gauge that a product is not authentically Italian is by looking through the ingredients list of those products to see what is being used. Based on the availability of ingredients in manufacturing companies, Italian products are produced. So if you see a recipe or product that calls for non-Italian ingredients, be sure that these aren’t truly Italian in nature.
- Overtly using ‘trendy’ ingredients: If you’ve looked through websites online that claim to be Italian and have recipes that overtly use ‘trendy’ items rather than those ingredients that Italian would actually use, then they are most definitely not Italian in nature.
- Simplicity and Discretion: Italian dishes are traditionally simple and straight-forward. They don’t even use any fancy cooking techniques. Sure, Italian food is very appetizing, but this results from the use of flavourful herbs and not the overuse of any plethora of ingredients. The simpler the process, the more authentic the cuisine.
- Obsession with Chicken or Shrimp: There is this surplus need for chicken breasts and shrimps in pseudo-Italian dishes. Truly, Italians don’t have an unhealthy obsession with chicken or shrimp as much as other cuisines. They celebrate – produce, cheese, herbs, and cured meats way more than chicken breasts or shrimp. So, if a recipe calls for the use of so many of these products, they aren’t truly authentically Italian.
These are just a few ways to find out if the products or ingredients you buy from Italian food stores online are real or fake.