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Honouring Italy: surprising pasta facts

Surprising Pasta Facts

Everyone would probably agree that pasta is Italy’s pride. Let’s educate ourselves more about this delicious product!

Eating with a spike

In the Middle Ages, Italians used to eat pasta with a wooden spike. It was called “punteruolo”. Progressively, it was changed to a fork, which they found more convenient: it has three spikes instead of one to twirl up their noodles. This might the main reason why the change was quite fast and easily integrated into Italian society. Meanwhile other parts of Europe were struggling with acceptance of using the fork.

Making pasta in Naples

In southern Italy, close to Naples, the region called Campania is considered to be the best place to make pasta. And it is only because of suitable climate conditions. The durum wheat is able to grow all year round and usually it is slowly dried in the open air.

The first pasta factory was opened in Venice

Italy’s first pasta factory was opened in 1740 by Paolo Adami who was authorized by Venice. The factory’s licence ensured that the authorized person will teach local children how to make fine pasta and other secrets to keep the traditions and competitive advantage in the region.

Italians eat 13 million tonnes of pasta a year

According to Statista, $10.281 million was spent on pasta worldwide in 2017. It is equal to 4764.2 million kilograms of pasta food. The volume is expected to amount to 4,879.6 million kilograms by 2021.

Italy keeps the first position in pasta consumption, with America and Russia just behind. There are a few predictions made that Russia eventually will take over the second place of pasta consumers . However, speaking about the global comparison in revenue, China leads.

Shape has meaning

Italians can proudly count around 600 shapes of pasta. Strict rules define the use of pasta: a particular dish has a specific shape of noodles. For example, Italians wouldn’t use tiny ditalini in anything else except a soup. Neither do they eat spaghetti with whatever.

“Each shape has something it’s especially good at: long, thin pasta sweeps up thinner sauces; thick noodles balance out rich, meaty ones; short, hollow pastas are perfect for when you want to pick up a mouthful of pasta, a scoop of sauce and chunks of meat or veg at the same time; while the smallest ones add just the right bite to a bowl of soup.”(The Local)

A particular dish has a specific shape of noodles

Pasta can be sweet
Yes, it can. And it’s not chocolate pasta we’re talking about. In Renaissance Italy, it was common to eat pasta with sugar, cinnamon and soft cheese. Nowadays, it can be served with honey and pistachios or almond ravioli stuffed with ricotta and orange zest.

Pasta boycott

In the early 1930s, Italian thinkers and artists were opposed to pasta claiming that the consumption of Italy’s favourite food is bad for people. The poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti wrote that pasta causes “pessimism, nostalgic inactivity and neutralism”. Marco Ramperti, a fellow member of the Futurist movement, added: “spaghetti poisons us” and “our thoughts wind round each other, get mixed up and tangled like the vermicelli we have taken in”.

The movement didn’t affect Italians, they were consuming pasta in the same amounts.

The benefits of pasta

Some studies were made to research how beneficial is pasta to humans. It seems, pasta helps us stay slim: it is related to Mediterranean diet which is based on fresh vegetables and olive oil. It also contributes to making the heart more resilient to heart attacks. Moreover, other studies reveal that pasta contributes to our happiness: noodles increase levels of serotonin, the body’s happiness chemical. Finally, Italians enjoy longer lifetimes than anyone else. It’s pretty strong argument to have pasta for lunch today!

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