Naples – the birthplace of Italian gastronomy
In the southwestern part of Italy, perhaps the most diverse region of the country is located – Campania. Its diversity is manifested both in the natural landscape – mountain ranges alternate with spacious plains and flowering reserves – and in the nature of the terrain. The calm and measured region with its mild climate and centuries-old traditions violates the reputation of the brutal Naples. Italian National Tourism Agency (ENIT) will explain why you just need to visit the largest city and capital of the region.
Naples proudly rises above the Gulf of Naples and for centuries has served as an inspiration for artists – filmmakers, writers, artists – due to its passionate nature and picturesque landscapes. Naples is rich in works of architectural art – countless Catholic cathedrals, monuments, galleries, castles and palaces.
The historical and cultural heritage of the city is unique: in 1995 it was included in the list of objects protected by UNESCO. Despite the legends and slightly notoriety, thousands of tourists annually travel to Naples in search of Italian happiness, thrills and, of course, real Italian pizza.
Yes, you heard right: Naples is the birthplace of pizza, the main symbol of Italian gastronomy. Real pizza and the name is corresponding – Neapolitan. According to legend, the most popular pizza, Margarita, was first cooked in 1889 for Queen Margarita, wife of King Umberto I.
During a visit to Naples, the couple decided to try a popular local dish – pizza – which was considered the food of the poor. Several types of pizza were prepared for the king and queen, including pizza with fresh tomatoes, cheese and basil, to the color of the Italian flag. The last pizza especially pleased the queen and was named after her – Margarita.
This episode was a turning point for pizza as a dish: we can say that in just 130 years, pizza has conquered the whole world. And yet, only in Naples can you find out what a real Neapolitan pizza is: thin in the middle, with high sides and fresh ingredients.
The second truly Italian dish presented to the world by Naples is spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, clams, white wine and parsley. This simple dish made from fresh vegetables and seafood, thanks to its rich taste, becomes a real gastronomic masterpiece. In Naples, other variations of the famous dish are also widespread: from classic pasta with tomatoes to more complex experiments with vegetable stew, meat and seafood. The secret of Italian pasta is in sauce. This statement is more than proved by another “visiting card” of Naples: Genoese pasta. Its charm lies in a thick sauce of caramelized onions and stewed beef from a local farm – ENIT recommends!
Speaking of Neapolitan delicacies, one cannot but mention mozzarelabuffalo cheese, which is cooked in Campania from the milk of Mediterranean buffalo. The delicate taste of mozzarella is familiar to everyone who has been to Italy at least once: in Italian cuisine it is a universal ingredient. Mozzarella is added to pasta, pizza, vegetable dishes and salads, for example, caprese with tomatoes. By the way, it is on Neapolitan land that the most delicious and juicy tomatoes grow, indispensable for Italian gastronomy.
Finally, for dessert – Neapolitan sweets. Italy is famous for its pastries, and Naples is no exception. One of the main traditional Neapolitan desserts is a rum woman. Legend has it that donut-shaped sweets were brought to Naples by the sister of the French Queen Marie Antoinette Maria Carolina of Austria, the wife of the ruler of the Kingdom of Naples, Ferdinand IV. At first, the rum woman was exclusively a royal delicacy, but a couple of centuries later she occupied a niche in Neapolitan street food. Another no less sweet dessert is a shortcake or puff pastry made from sand or puff, resembling a French croissant or a horizontal stack of potato chips. Ricotta is added as a filling and served both warm and cold.
In Naples, large and satisfying taralli pretzels are very popular: they are seasoned with salt, pepper, fried almonds or spices. Among the traditional Neapolitan desserts, there are those that are prepared exclusively on holidays. For example, a Neapolitan Easter pastor cake filled with citrus fruits is prepared on Easter; on Christmas – struffoli balls fried in honey.
And do not forget to try Limoncello from Sorrento! And for a snack, take Neapolitan sweets, chocolate and fruits.