Over many years of cooking many different cuisines I have to admit a special fondness for the cuisines of Italy. I don’t cook Italian cuisine. I cook Italian cuisines. It is important to make this distinction because Italy, like much of Europe, still clings to regional variations and traditions when it comes to cooking.
There are exceptions of course and most of those are in restaurants that cater to tourists. The cuisine of, say, Emilia-Romagna is vastly different than that of Campania. The pork and dairy products of the area around Bologna and Parma bears no resemblance to the food in and around Napoli. At least in the traditional sense.
When I cook Italian it is more like a drive from Piemonte to Liguria to Emilia-Romagna to Toscana to Umbria to Lazio to Campania to Calabria. The places I have been and seen and their influence and inspiration are my cues.
I hope to keep going back and I hope to learn more and see more of these regional variations in the foodways of this great, simple, rustic tradition.