Today’s easiness to travel allows people to take part in an important cultural exchange that makes global distances seem shorter than ever beforeless rigid. Food brings people together faster than any other cultural trait. The presence of Italian restaurants in almost every country in the world shows just how quickly people open their arms and their tasting buds at the same time to embrace a new cuisine.

The secret that makes Italian cuisine so different from other gastronomies lies in its unique range of ingredients and the way they combine to transform simple foods into finger-licking dishes. Here are the most popular ingredients that you will probably taste in every Italian meal you order:

Olive Oil

Every Italian meal starts and ends with a drop of olive oil. This delicious balm has significant health benefits which the people of the Italian peninsula have discovered thousands of years ago. Even the simplest dishes like bruschettas or small salads cannot be prepared without fresh virgin olive oil. Also, a short drizzle over a plate of pasta or a slice of pizza enhances the taste and gratifies your tasting buds.


Whether you are preparing a sauce or a fresh veal stew, you cannot leave out the garlic. A single clove of this spicy ingredient makes everything taste better. Italians use it in almost every dish, and sometimes they just rub a slice of bread with garlic to create a short, but fulfilling afternoon snack. The only downsides to eating this plant are the after smell and bad breath that results from it, so you might have to stick to powdered garlic when preparing an Italian dish for your date.


This culinary herb is believed to originate from India, but its prominent use is in Mediterranean cuisine. The Greeks and the Italians seem to add a few leaves of this strongly perfumed plant in almost every dish. Pesto is one of the most famous sauces that come from Italy, and it has basil as its fundamental ingredient. Many Italians grow or buy large quantities of basil and store it for months in the freezer to have it handy whenever they prepare salads, pasta or pizza.


Just the way you cannot imagine pesto without basil, you cannot think of cooking tomato sauce without oregano, especially if you are Italian. This aromatic herb can turn a simple salsa into a delicious gravy, whether you use its fresh leaves or in powdered dry form. The Italians use oregano to transform the taste of many dishes, which is why it has become popular in different countries around the world, including the US, the Philippines, and Turkey.


Whether you order a pizza or a plate of pasta from an Italian restaurant, you will have to choose from a broad selection of tasty cheese assortments. Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Pecorino cheeses have already grown to worldwide popularity. However, the Italian cuisine uses hundreds of types of fermented curd in every dish, from appetizers and main courses to desserts and as salty snacks for wine tastings.