If you feel instantly sated and content when you eat a delicious Italian dish, you’re far from alone. Studies show that Italian food is the single most popular cuisine in the world.
In fact, pizza and pasta received an average popularity score of 84% in a cross-continental study, which was the highest of any worldwide cuisine!
Finding an authentic Italian restaurant in Sarasota is important to staying happy while in the city long-term. Read on to learn some reasons that this is the case and to get a clearer picture of why you need to find pasta and pizza in Sarasota.
The History of Italian Food
Italy did not exist as we know it until the 19th century. However, Italian cuisine stems back much further than that. It has traceable roots that stem as far back as the 4th century BC.
However, much of this history has been lost. Historians aren’t 100% sure what the people in the region ate up until the development of the Holy Roman Empire in 9th century AD.
The Holy Roman Empire
Those who lived in the Holy Roman Empire loved to feast. Their frequent banquets were a time when people came together to share ideas, opinions, and philosophy (as well as to flirt and to crack a few jokes). At these banquets, attendees also prided themselves on serving and trying dishes that hadn’t yet made their way to Italian tables yet.
This was an especially important tradition because the Roman Empire expanded fairly rapidly. They conquered countless nations across the Middle East and the Mediterranean, all of whom grew unique spices and had individualistic cuisines of their own. These dishes often graced the tables of Roman banquets.
However, the majority of people were unable to attend these banquets. As you might expect, they were made for the nobility and some upper-crust constituents.
The regular people and families in Rome had diets primarily consisting of wine, olive oil, bread, legumes, cheese, and veggies. These are still staples in Italian food today.
A New Social Class in the Middle Ages
Around the 1600s (now thought of as the later Middle Ages), a new social class developed in Rome: the bourgeoisie. These people weren’t nobles and therefore didn’t get to dine at the same high level as emperors and their highest-ranking subjects did.
However, the Crusades opened up a class of merchants who had a higher level of socioeconomic status than commoners did, so they needed a new classification altogether. Hence, the birth of the bourgeoisie.
Good food was a symbol of economic status, so cooking became a favorite hobby of many Romans. They experimented with different spices, flavors, and combinations and brought back old methods of cooking as well.
Meat and vegetables were roasted and braised in a way that they hadn’t been since Christianity was brought to Rome. They also began to dress dishes in the flavorful sauces that these Christians deemed too decadent (since they believed that good food made people less chaste).
At this point, more people had access to classic dishes and cooking methods than ever before.
The Development of Regional Dishes
After the fall of the Holy Roman Empire (1806), Italian food began to become more regional. Different cities started to develop local dishes that they were proud of. People there believed that food created in a specific city or region was a source of local pride. To this day, some Italian dishes are associated with specific regions of the nation.
The main reason that this happened was that the Silk Road from China delivered different spices and ingredients to different areas of Italy. This- and the fact that different cities had varying climates and proximities to water- lead to more specialized food being sent to different regions.
Today, there are many examples of regional cuisine in Italy. From Campania’s reinvented Pizza Napoletana to Liguaria’s flatbreads, Italian restaurants in Sarasota are excited to bring these regional dishes to American tables.
Why Is Authentic Italian Food Great?
When you eat authentic Italian food, you’re experiencing the product of centuries of rich history. That’s a pretty appealing reason to try these restaurants in and of itself. However, there are many other reasons that Italian food is an awesome cuisine to eat.
The bottom line is that it tastes good and is extremely fresh and imaginative, but that’s far from all there is to Italian cuisine. Eating this fare is an experience in and of itself.
The first and most important reason that Italian food is popular is that it’s delicious. Ingredients are flavorful and comfortable because they come from multiple places around the world. Tomatoes, for example, are a Mexican product, but they’re a staple in Italian food.
Italians borrow ingredients from other nations and create unique recipes with these items. As a result, Italian food only uses the finest flavors.
This is why the delicious pizza at Bavaro’s has such a strong and well-spiced taste. It’s also the reason that pasta sauces are so delicious- they use garlic, basil, and other foreign-grown spices that influential Italians adopted out of love.
It Emphasizes Simple and Fresh Ingredients
Italian food is also delicious because of the quality of its ingredients. Many cuisines use a lot of complex ingredients in their recipes, which is appealing to some individuals. However, everyone can appreciate that Italian cuisine is tailored to emphasize the simple appeal of spices, vegetables, and oils.
This is the reason that the best Italian food only uses a few key ingredients. For example, classic homemade Margherita pizza sauce is made with only tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. Rather than fussing over tons of spices, sauce enthusiasts focus on creating a blend of these ingredients that brings out the individual taste of each.
Freshness is key to the creation of quality authentic Italian food. Spices need to be hand-picked and imported rather than processed in a factory setting, which is an essential part of our restaurant’s recipes. Tomatoes, vegetables, and creams all need to be used soon after having been cultivated.
The only things that can (and should) be used long after being harvested? Wine and cheese, of course!
As we brushed on earlier, there are many different Italian dishes that you have to choose from. This is partly because of regional variation, but it also is because of the pride that authentic Italian chefs take in tailoring our recipes to each guest.
Small plates (appetizers) tend to use a lot of seafood, cheese, bread, oils, and antipasti elements such as olives and nuts.
The same applies to lighter fare. Salads emphasize oils, kinds of vinegar, and spices in their dressing and pair it with antipasti. Classics like Burrata Caprese emphasize unique flavors from basil pesto and pink peppercorn- an ingredient that you won’t find nearly anywhere else.
On the other hand, pizza and pasta emphasize the flavors of gourmet sauces, vegetables, and meats. Both of these dishes do this differently, too- pizza tends to place more emphasis on meat and vegetable toppings while pasta’s main draw is the spices used in sauces.
It Has a Romantic Vibe
No cuisine is inherently a better recipe for romance than others. However, many individuals and couples consider Italian food to have a uniquely romantic vibe. 28% of survey participants voted on Italian food as the most romantic cuisine, which is a higher percentage than any other option.
But why is this the case?
It likely boils down to a few facts. First, Italian food is constantly being portrayed as romantic in media. Almost every romance movie (and even cartoons like Lady and the Tramp) presents Italian food as cuisine that leads to intrigue, romance, and love.
When Americans (and those in other cultures) see Italian food constantly portrayed in this way, they begin to associate the cuisine with romance. It gets people in a flirtatious mindset because of this learned behavior, making these dishes perfect for first dates and anniversaries alike.
However, Italian food’s romantic vibe can’t be completely attributed to modern media. It earned this reputation on its own by being made with more passion, imagination, and sensuality than other culture’s meals. Since these are ingredients for romance as well as food, Italian food gained a reputation for romance.
Italian cuisine is imaginative because it takes a few simple ingredients and turns them into something much greater. This requires chefs to constantly experiment with new ingredients and spices. They therefore will have to innovate new ways to combine ingredients and create unique menu items.
If you’re looking for more information on recipes that are made with both love and imagination, contact Bavaro’s. Our expert chefs will be happy to explain how their recipes have been tailored to the specific tastes of American guests in Sarasota.
The Health Benefits of Italian Food
In addition to these many benefits, Italian food can also promote good health. Italians live an average of 18 months longer than those in other Western nations. Their diet is likely the main reason for this considering that they smoke significantly more and tend to drink a lot of wine.
But what exactly makes a Mediterranean diet so healthy? The healthy ingredients used can promote heart health, a healthy digestive system, and lower inflammation. That’s far from all they can do, however, so read on to learn some specifics.
Promotes a Healthy Heart
Italian food promotes heart health in multiple ways. The first is by using ingredients that are high in antioxidants.
These foods include grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits (including fresh tomatoes). Red wine is also extremely high in antioxidants and is often served with all types of Italian meals.
Antioxidants protect your body from unstable molecules that cause cell damage. This stops you from having issues in your blood, bones, and organs because you’ll have the capacity to better heal from illness and injury. Heart disease is a common problem that those with poor immune systems develop since they cannot heal tissues surrounding the heart.
Antioxidants prevent heart damage, but so do fatty acids. Olive oil is one of the richest ingredients that contains fatty acids around the world. It also happens to be one of the biggest- if not the #1 biggest- staples in Italian cuisine.
Olive oil helps to reduce inflammation and protect your heart. Therefore, Italian food does, too.
Incorporates a Lot of Fiber
Fiber is a supplement that performs many functions within your body. The most important include lowering blood cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Getting more fiber will make you less prone to fainting spells and the development of anemia and related issues. Fiber also helps to regulate your digestive system.
This supplement is found in many Italian dishes because it primarily comes from vegetables and grains. Pizza crust, whole-grain pasta, Italian salads, and vegetable pizza toppings are common in Italian fare and provide you with enough fiber to pack a punch.
Italian food is packed with healthy protein that can keep your muscles and bones strong. While American cuisine is rich in red meats, Italian fare makes use of white meats and fish. Both of these are excellent protein sources that are significantly lower in harmful fats than red meat is.
Even without the comparison to red meat, white meat and fish come out ahead of other fares in many ways. They serve essential fatty acids and minerals and therefore are good for your holistic health. They serve up the vitamins and protein that give you energy so that you can go through your daily life feeling good.
Protein is often included as pizza toppings, but it’s more common in pasta dishes. You can get shrimp or grilled chicken in virtually any pasta dish. They taste delicious in any one of our homemade sauces, so feel free to add additional protein to dishes that don’t already have them.
If you do choose to get a vegetarian main course such as Margherita flatbread or pizza, you can get a seafood appetizer. Our delicious oysters are one of the most popular appetizers that we have to offer. They come breaded in crispy pancetta and are served with parmesan pecorino romano, and garlic butter.
High in Garlic
The vast majority of Italian dishes incorporate garlic. This is lovely because fresh garlic like that we use in our dishes has antibiotic and antifungal properties. It stops you from getting common colds and seasonal flu pre-emptively. It also stops you from developing bacterial and fungal infections.
This is because the components of garlic such as flavonoids, allicin, and allyl sulfides have properties that contribute to overall wellness.
Some studies suggest that garlic may be able to reduce the risk of certain cancers, but the magnitude of this risk reduction is still being studied. However, there may be benefits to eating garlic for those who have a high risk of stomach, breast, colon, prostate, or pancreatic cancers. This is because they may slow the proliferation of cancer cells.
Low on Calories but Incredibly Filling
Italian food is also extremely filling despite being low in calories. The use of leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, and lean meats have fewer calories than the heavy red meats and starches of other cuisines. This helps you to retain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity-related health problems.
One of the main reasons that people gain weight and put themselves at risk of these illnesses is so that they feel full. Many common foods such as fried fast food and red meats don’t feel filling, prompting those who consume them to eat more soon.
Authentic Italian food uses high-quality ingredients that make you feel full. They provide real nutritional value and give your body the fuel it needs to fill you up. Because of this, you won’t be tempted to overeat and will feel ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.
Why Should You Try an Italian Restaurant in Sarasota?
Now that you know why Italian cuisine is essential for a happy and healthy lifestyle, you likely are wondering why you should specifically try an Italian restaurant in Sarasota. After all, aren’t these benefits only found in Italy?
The answer to this question is a resounding ‘no.’ Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana and Pastaria has committed itself to the high standards of its Italian roots. We pride ourselves on bringing delicious recipes to your American table.
Experienced Italian Chefs
While not in Italy, our chefs are experts in Italian cuisine. We hire those with strong backgrounds in cooking, preparing, and serving Italian fare to hungry Americans.
This means that you don’t need to go to Italy to dine like royalty. You can get individual meals both to go and to eat in our picturesque restaurant. If you have a large group to serve, you also can invest in catering services for weddings, family reunions, corporate events, and more.
If you choose to eat in Bavaro’s dining room, you can access live entertainment nearly every day of the week. This comes in the form of live musicians that appear in the restaurant around dinnertime and play from 6 pm-9 pm.
These entertainers make your dining experience much more special and memorable than it otherwise would be. You would otherwise need to pay to attend a concert for any of these up-and-coming artists. When you visit Bavaro’s, you’ll automatically gain access to these performers with the purchase of your delicious meal.
An American Twist
Eating at an Italian restaurant anywhere in America offers a unique twist, and Sarasota is no exception. When considering where to eat in Sarasota, think about the many twists that US restaurants can put on traditional Italian food.
Combining American-grown vegetables with imported ingredients such as olive oil and vinegar makes for a classic salad with a twist. Using imported Italian pasta and traditional Italian sauce recipes with a few American spices thrown in makes for a unique dining experience that you’re sure to remember for a lifetime.
Though we pride ourselves on authentic Italian cuisine, any homemade pizza or pasta in the US will have some American elements to it. Come and see for yourself what American Italian food tastes like- you won’t regret it.
Bavaro’s takes pride in the many generations of hard work that has gone into our recipes. We serve traditional Neapolitan pizza with handcrafted and wood-fired brick ovens that were designed by third-generation Neapolitan craftsmen.
We also use ingredients sourced straight from Italy to ensure that the most authentic flavors come to your table. Because these recipes have been passed down not only through multiple generations but also through the long history of Italian cuisine, going to an Italian restaurant in Sarasota is a great way to experience multigenerational recipes.
Try Delicious Homemade Pizza and Pasta Today
While there are many options for fine dining, Italian food is one of the top choices. It’s delicious, diverse, and has many health benefits that will keep you both in shape and content. Now that you know why you should try an Italian restaurant in Sarasota, it’s time to plan your next outing.
Make a reservation or place a pickup order at Bavaro’s. At our Neapolitan Pizzeria, you’ll have the opportunity to try the many dishes that we talked about and more. Our handmade Italian sauces have been distributed to families everywhere as our business has grown.
We strive to set a high standard for traditional handmade Italian dishes, so we look forward to serving you soon.