Italian cooking is world renowned for both its homely comfort and its elegance. In order to better understand why food is so important to Italians you must understand where the ingredients come from. On our walk to the farm we passed many different plants that are essential in Italian cooking. Olive and cherry trees pepper the area. Grape and tomato vines grow rampant fields on almost every family’s property. An interesting roadside plant was mint. To many people mint is much more reminiscent of Greek than Italian cooking but it is also a staple of simple pasta dishes in Tuscany.
Upon arriving at the farm you can easily understand the self-sufficient attitude of Italians. All the wine, olive oil, and most of the vegetables consumed at the owner’s home were from their field just yards away. The field was full of cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, and many other vegetables. They grew onions around other plants to utilize their pungent smell to keep insects away. The farm was the owner’s leisure, passion, and their livelihood. The history of Italy is an instable one. While there’s a strong identity with very close locals, citizens maintain fiercely independent. This manifests itself most clearly in the food in their fields.
Italian food and Italian culture go hand in hand and the personal farms in Tuscany make this fact clear. Diving deeper into the culture of Italy allows you to better understand where your ingredients come from and how Italians view living.