The history of Italian food is an adventure that takes us a long, long way from advertising's cosy tales of mamma rolling gnocchi for the bambini, or the peasants eating pizza under the pergola. The idea that Italian food issues from a world of timeless rustic simplicity is false.

This six-part series focuses on Italian identity, and with it the Italian flair for food. It's also rather funny - host John Dickie is Professor of Italian Studies at University College London, and the author of several books including Delizia - the epic history of the Italians and their food, Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse and Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, but he's far from a dusty academic. He brings to the series wit and a rather entertaining willingness to throw himself into all manner of unexpected situations, from donning painfully authentic recreations of Roman sandals to drinking a vile "sports" drink. Happily for our adventurous host, there are also some fine meals and meetings with good cooks and leading chefs.

Eating History: Italy - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Running

Runtime: None minutes

Premier: 2016-07-21

Eating History: Italy - Italian cuisine - Netflix

Italian cuisine is food typical from Italy. It has developed through centuries of social and economic changes, with roots stretching to antiquity. Significant changes occurred with the discovery of the New World and the introduction of potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, maize and sugar beet, this last introduced in quantity in the 18th century. Italian cuisine is known for its regional diversity, especially between the north and the south of the Italian peninsula. It offers an abundance of taste, and is one of the most popular and copied in the world. It influenced several cuisines around the world chiefly that of the United States. Italian cuisine is generally characterized by its simplicity, with many dishes having only two to four main ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many dishes that were once regional, have proliferated with variations throughout the country.

Eating History: Italy - History - Netflix

Italian cuisine has developed over the centuries. Although the country known as Italy did not unite until the 19th century, the cuisine can claim traceable roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Food and culture was very important at that time as we can see from the cookbook (Apicius) which dates back to first century BC. Through the centuries, neighbouring regions, conquerors, high-profile chefs, political upheaval and the discovery of the New World have influenced its development. Italian food started to form after the fall of the Roman Empire, when different cities began to separate and form their own traditions. Many different types of bread and pasta were made, and there was a variation in cooking techniques and preparation. The country was split. Regional cuisine is represented by some of the major cities in Italy. For example, Milan (north of Italy) is known for its risottos, Bologna (the central/middle of the country) is known for its tortellini and Naples (the south) is famous for its pizzas and spaghettis.

Eating History: Italy - References - Netflix