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Northern Italy - Information and FoodThe Food of Northern Italy
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The regions of Northern Italy claim the highest standard of living and boasts a richer diet, in terms of both abundance an variety. It is rich with grain, corn, rice, fruit, livestock and dairy products. The vineyards in Northern Italy are Italy's prime source of premium wine.

The diversity in the traditional Northern Italian Cuisine includes pesto, risotto, braised veal shanks, black rice and crab meat. Not to mention Turin's cheese fondue and white truffles.

Meat are preferred over seafood in most places where butter and lard are the traditional fats. Exceptions must be made for Liguria, with its exemplary Mediterranean diet, and the Adriatic strip where seafood and olive oil prevail.

In most inland areas, diets have relied on a wholesome mix of grains, legumes, cheeses, preserved fish and seasonal varieties of vegetables, mushrooms and herbs. A tendency to substitute olive oil for animal fats has revitalized the balance.

Pasta, rice, polenta and gnocchi figure in one form or another in each region's diet, though local preferences present a study in contrasts. Fresh pasta, usually made with eggs, prevails south of the Po in Piedmont, Liguria and, most gloriously, in Emilia-Romagna. Rice dominates in the flatlands of Lombardy and Piedmont, where it is usually braised and stirred as risotto, and in the Veneto, where it is often simmered in broth in dishes that range tastily between risottos and thick soups.

Rice, polenta and beans are the preferred food in the Northern Italy's dishes. Rice, since its introduction by the Arabs in the 16th century, has been grown with great success throughout the area, especially in Lombardy. Arborio, used to make risotto, is perhaps the most well known Italian rice, but is only one of many varieties. This is also pig-friendly country, and the hams and sausages are superb. Pork and polenta was traditionally a staple of the common Northern Italian kitchen table.

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Northern Italy

Liguria - Northern Italy


Liguria - Northern ItalyLiguria - Northern Italy

Ligurian cuisine uses plenty of herbs in which the mountains provide plentiful herbs for cooking. Specialties are focaccia and walnut sauce.Liguria runs along the coastline bordering France, and includes the Italian Riviera and the Cinque Terre. Ideal for a seaside or walking holiday, the region enjoys a mild climate in winter. Miles of coastline, Liguria is a narrow area over the northern part of the Mediterranean. The mountains form a shelter against the cold northern winds, keeping the weather mild for most of the year. Ligurians live in a tiny valley between the sea and the mountains a few miles inland.

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Peimonte - Northern Italy


Piemonte - Northern ItalyPiemonte - Northern Italy

Valle d'Aosta, Lombardia and Liguria in the norhwest and Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in the northeast. Formed by the influence of its northern neighbors and mountainous terrain. Polenta and rice are staples and its dairy products and wines are among Italy's best. Piemonte is home to highly prized white Alba truffle sprinkled over melted fontina on pasta or eggs. This region also produces Italy's greatest wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.

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Lombardia - Northern Italy


Lombardia - Nothern ItalyLombardia - Nothern Italy

Lomabardia is characterized by its rich agricultural areas and has a very diverse cuisine. Many of Italy's finest cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Taleggio, Bel Paese and gran padano are produced here and fresh pasta, polenta and rice are all enoyed. Lombardia is a wealthy land-locked region situated between the Alps in the north and the Po in the south and has some of Italy's most beautiful and varied terrain. The high mountain peaks prevents the cold northern European weather from penetrating the region which drops down into alpine foothills, then falsl away into the soft hills. With its extremely fertile land, Lombardia has the best yields per acre of any region in Italy.

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Veneto - Northern Italy


Veneto - Northern ItalyVeneto - Northern Italy

Veneto is known for its simple preparation of seafood such as moleche (soft shelled crabs). Pronounced As: ven-e-toe , Ital. Veneto or Venezia Euganea, region (1993 pop. 4,391,831), 7,095 sq mi (18,376 sq km), NE Italy, bordering on the Gulf of Venice (an arm of the Adriatic Sea) in the east and on Austria in the north. One of the great destinations of the world, Venice dominates this region so much that it's easy to forget what lies beyond this unbelievable city. Covering a stretch of land between the Alps, the Dolomites, and the Gulf of Venice; a tiny piece of it touches Austria. Veneto has a remarkable variety of terrain, contributing to the variety of this region's cuisine.

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Friuli Venezia Giulia - Northern Italy


Friuli Venezia Giulia - Northern ItalyFriuli Venezia Giulia - Northern Italy

This region features beautiful Adriatic beaches, stunning mountain views, and vineyards. Largely undiscovered by tourists, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia shares borders with Austria and Yugoslavia. The fusion between the Po Valley and the Alps form the foundation of the region's cuisine yet Austrian, Yugoslavian, and Oriental influences are easy to spot. Corn is the principal crop, followed by beans, and fruits and vegetables, including white turnips, asparagus, and the pleasantly bitter dwarf chicory. Dumplings (gnocchi) are one of the region's specialties and may be made of potatoes, squash, or stale bread. Pork is the poor man's meat of choice, but Friulians also catch all kinds of seafood off the Adriatic. Also known for its proscuitto di San Daniele a fine sweet ham.

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Val d'Aosta - Northern Italy


Val d'Aosta - Northern ItalyVal d'Aosta - Northern Italy

Val d'Asosta most famous for its alpine cheeses, fontina, toma and robiola which are central to the region's cuisine.The smallest region of Italy, Valle d'Aosta is separated from France and Switzerland by the dramatic, icy peaks of the Alps. Here in the birthplace of fontina cheese, grazing cows outnumber the region's inhabitants. The two most important elements of this cuisine are bread and soup, which often contains bread. The local bread, pane nero ("black bread") is made from rye flour and is the primary product in a variety of recipes. Pasta is not traditional in this area; instead, polenta, rice, and gnocchi appear as first courses. As the Valle d'Aostans are mountain people, game is a particularly important part of this region's cuisine.

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Trentino Alto Adige - Northern Italy


Trentino Alto Adige - Northern ItalyTrentino Alto Adige - Northern Italy

Trentino Alto Adige can be gastronomically divided into two. Alto Adige to the north is Austrian Italy and the cuisine includes speck (cured ham), canederli (dumplings) and gulasch. Trentino is more Italian, though canedirli are popular and the excellent apples of this region are made into a local strudel. Polenta and breads accompany meals.Trentino Alto Aldige is separated from Veneto by the dramatic mountains at Italy's northernmost edge. Although the two areas are geographically united, from a gastronomic perspective, Trentino and Alto Adige are two distinct regions. Trentino's cuisine is decidedly Venetian. Polenta is a staple, often accompanied by some of the region's overwhelming array of mushrooms. The harvest of wild mushrooms, in which the Dolomites are rich, includes porcini, chanterelles, chiodini, and a host of others. In the summer and autumn, Trento has a fabulous mushroom market, with hundreds of different varieties. Everyone in this region seems to be a mushroom expert. Even some members of the police are micologi (mushroom experts), who inspect mushrooms in the market to make sure they are safe to sell.

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Regions in ItalyRegions of Italy
Abruzzo region ItalyAbruzzi
Basilicata region ItalyBasilicata
Calabria region ItalyCalabria
Campagnia  region ItalyCampagnia
Emilia Romagna region ItalyEmilia Romagna
Friuli Venezia Giulia region ItalyFriuli Venezia Giulia
Lazio region ItalyLazio
Liguria region ItalyLiguria
Lombardia region ItalyLombardia
Marche region ItalyMarche
Molise region ItalyMolise
Piemonte region ItalyPiemonte
Puglia region ItalyPuglia
Sardegna region ItalySardegna
Sicilia region ItalySicilia - Sicily
Toscana region ItalyToscana - Tuscany
Trentino Alte AldigeTrentino Alte Aldige
Umbria region ItalyUmbria
Val D'Aosta region ItalyVal D'Aosta
Veneto region ItalyVeneto
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