Dilit Italian School

How to learn the Italian language through the Italian cuisine

The Italian cuisine seminar takes place at Dilit at least once a month. There are teachers who present and cook typical dishes of the Italian tradition, with the active participation of our students. Eventually you can taste, of course, what has been prepared.

The Italian cuisine is well known and appreciated all over the world, but not everybody knows that there doesn’t exist just one Italian cuisine. There are regional cuisines and this mix of delights makes up the traditional Italian cuisine.

If you think of it, it is logical, considering two main factors:

  1. One is geo-climatic. Italy is long and narrow, placed right in the middle of the Mediterranean.  Sunshine, rain, temperature, soil, winds…vary a lot from South to North. Look on a map where the Dolomites are and then where Lampedusa is. The territories of the Alpine foothills and of the Alps have a climate very similar to that of central Europe, while Lampedusa is on the same level as Tunisian coasts. Between these two territories you can find all the different climatic gradations. But it is all Italy. Of course products such as fruit, vegetables, pastures for animals that grow at different latitudes also vary a lot. For example, olive trees don’t usually grow north of Liguria, Tuscany and Marche.
  2. The second factor is historical. After the fall of the Roman Empire, conquerors from all over came one after another and brought their culture and culinary tastes. For example, in Sicily and in its south in particular, there are many dishes based on couscous, a typical Middle Eastern dish. In the Dolomite cities they cook “canederli”, which is the Italianization of “knodel”, a typical dish of south eastern Germany.

The Italian cuisine’s success is based on a great variety of products and on imagination in preparation; a lot of imagination, because there were few things available in the old farmers’ kitchens such as olive oil, flour, vegetables, a little bit of cheese (a little bit, because it was supposed to be sold), wine and little else…the things they could produce. The Italian cuisine was born from these few things.

If you want to test yourself on the Italian cuisine or if you already cook Italian and want to know more about it, you can search different websites that can help you.

It is better to use videos, because it is fundamental to see chefs in action.

I suggest that you read the article in this series about the way and the techniques to listen to them:

  • Giallo Zafferano: historical cuisine website. You can find more than 800 recipes today, mainly Italian. Videos are well explained and shot live very clearly. There is anything you wish, from hors-d’oeuvres to desserts, those teaching how to prepare fresh pasta, bread, pizza are included. There are different chefs. They are all understandable except for one, the woman who speaks so fast that she could be a challenge for listening.
  • Mypersonaltrainer ricette: this is a section of a health site. Alice, the chef, very nicely describes and prepares more than 1000 Italian recipes. They are a health version, but without forgetting tradition. Explanations on why they use a lighter ingredient instead of a more traditional one are exhaustive, extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, for instance. This is a good example of the typical Italian cuisine, which takes into account the needs of today’s consumer. There are many vegetarian and vegan recipes too. Note the pleasant light accent of north Italy, with a smooth r.

 

  • Lezioni di cucina: it is a cooking school with good explanations of techniques and some tricks. How to cut an onion correctly, plate presentation, how to boil eggs and so on. It is interesting if you want to improve your technique.
  • Italia squisita: more than 700 recipes presented by famous chefs from restaurants in all of Italy.
  • Cucina con noi: several chefs describe and prepare about 500 Italian dishes. They also show videos about food presentation.
  • Speziata: they have about 200 dishes and are particularly focused on the centre and the south of Italy.
  • gamberorosso.it: this is a website about wine, recipes and restaurants. Gambero Rosso has been dealing with the safeguard of the quality of the Italian products for decades. Wine videos have subtitles in English. There is a vast choice, but not as big as the other sites. They focus much attention on the modern cuisine’s new trends to the detriment of traditional simplicity.

There are plenty of videos home made by keen and more or less professional chefs. You can find anything. Here are two curiosities: Venezia da mangiare” by Cesare Colonnese who speaks in Venetian while he cooks typical dishes of the city or “Il bocca tv” where they teach the recipes of Tuscany speaking in Tuscan.

These are the most exhaustive and popular websites.

This is another way to learn Italian. Try it to believe it.

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