5 Facts for the Italophile

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A 30-second guide to 30 years in food history: Italian trends, wine and ingredients.

The best tomatoes for sauce are San Marzano, a sweet, fleshy variety of plum tomato. One of the country’s top olive oils is peppery Primo D.O.P. Extra-Virgin from the Cutrera family estate in southern Sicily. Long considered a red-checked-tablecloth wine, Valpolicella is earning newfound respect as prestige producers like Quintarelli demonstrate its complexity. Campania is the new Tuscany. Restaurants in and around Naples and Amalfi—like Quattro Passi—offer amazing modern Italian food, or “alta cucina.” Agnolotti del plin, the tiny meat-filled Piedmontese pinched pasta that’s hard for even chefs to make, is the cognoscenti’s choice.

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