Basically everything you love about Italian food, has its origins in Naples. Think of pizza, mozzarella, parmigiana di melanzana (aubergines with Parmesan cheese and tomato sauce) and many more…
Naples is one of the oldest cities in Italy, and has been ruled by many different empires and kingdoms: the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the kings from France and Spain. Each left their mark on the Neapolitan cuisine is it is today.
The Greco-Roman cuisine was marked by the use of seafood, such as seabass and vongole, and fruits in hearty dishes. In modern days, seafood still is preferred over meat, which is not strange when looking at the location of the city of Naples. However, it does mark an important difference between the Northern and Southern regions of Italy.
Under the reign of the Spanish and French, a difference occured between the cuisine of the aristocrats and that of the poorer people. Meat was a staple ingredient for the richer classes, while the poorer classes cooked with cheaper foods and what grew on the land. Nowadays, these two cuisines are mixed, using the basic recipes with more elaborate and exotic ingredients.
Fun fact: thanks to the Neapolitans, tomatoes were able to be preserved by means of peeled tomatoes and tomato paste!
The best invention ever made also took place in Naples: it is the birthplace of pizza. One of the most famous pizza’s was made by pizza-maker (pizzaiolo) Raffaele Esposito in 1889. To honour queen Margherita of Savoy, a nationalistic pizza was made using mozzarella, tomato and basil; which resembles the Italian flag (same colours used in the Insalata di Caprese).
Another amazing culinary invention from Naples: Limoncello! More on pizza later this week!
Have you ever been in Naples? How did you like the food there? Get in the mood with some great music!