Introduction to Europe.
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Europe is the 6th largest continent on the world map. It is comprises of 47 different countries and islands. It also includes some dependencies and territories. Europe is the big continent as it covers 6.7 percent of total land of the earth. So we can find different types of climatic conditions through out the Europe. Different climatic conditions encourage different food habits and nutritional requirements.
Climate plays a vital role in the European cuisine. Each and every region has diverse climatic conditions. Climate of every cuisine affects the cuisine for instance. Northern part of Europe has a colder climate so they rely on meat products more than agricultural produce, because cultivation is almost impossible in the cold regions at some times of the year.
In the central and southern part of Europe climate is usually moderate and warm, so the cultivation of agricultural products is possible. We can easily find vegetable products served as separate course or accompanying meat dishes in there dishes.
Europe has huge population which shows diversity in many ways. In the Europe the percentage of human immigrants is very high, people from different parts of world visit or stay in Europe due to various purposes. This immigration affect the style of cuisine.
Food in Europe:
Early Romans were simple farmers who relied only on simple, rustic food they could produce, like cereals, cheeses and olives. Meat and meat product was unheard luxury for them. Animals were to precious and breed to work on the farm. Trading links with other parts of the world encourage them to produce new vegetables and fruits. When they started trading in spices and salt, enabled them to pickle and preserve all kinds of meat, meat products, game and fish.
(ref: Italian Ingredient, Kate Whiteman)
One of the most fascinating things about Italy is that, it is a land of great contrasts. The old and modern sometimes clash but most of the times blend in a lovely harmony. Italy has the great mountains- The Alps contrasting the flattest plains of Po valley. The same drama is the part of Italian cuisine or as La cusina Italiana. La cusina Italiana is the oldest cooking culture in the world.
An average family meal begins with minestra , it may be a soup or pastas , rice or vegetable. In warm weather soup is sometimes served luke warm or cold.
Rice and pasta are invariably served as separate courses and not as an accompaniment. Minestra is followed by a main course of meat, fish or poultry often served with a vegetable and is followed by a salad or a single, raw vegetable. A sweet is sometimes served after the main course but more often cheese and or fresh fruits instead. A small cup of very strong black coffee rounds off the meal.
Italy is a world’s largest wine producer. Most Italian wines are made from indigenous varieties of hill grown grapes which make them easily distinguishable from the wines of other countries. Italian wines also have their individual characteristics depending on soil, climate variety of grapes use etc.
As there is plenty available, local wine is a natural ingredient in regional dishes. Dryish white and red wines are used mostly in meat and poultry dishes and fish stews. It helps to tenderise and flavour the meat or food.
Italy also has many liqueurs which have a useful role to play in the kitchen. This includes arum (orange liqueur) strega (herb and orange) and maraschino (cherry).
Also the freshly grown herb has a good contribution to Italian cuisine and especially oregano, basil, marjoram, mint and flat leaved parsley. They add genuine Italian flavour to our dishes.
(ref: The Love of...