Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Italian kitchen staples - garlic

Alongside the pastas, oils and sauces that you’ll find on the shelves of most Italian kitchens you’ll usually find a clove or two of garlic. Just like basil, it’s another ingredient that originated in Asia, but was made popular by the Romans.

It’s thought the Roman’s created the first garlic bread, by rubbing a clove or two over stale bruschetta to add flavour before dipping it in olive oil. Today it’s used to add depth of flavour to many dishes, from pasta sauces to roast chickens. Tuscany even has its own variety – the Tuscany White, widely used in the region and perfect for Umbrian chicken dishes.

But for the ultimate garlic dish, head to Piemonte, where popular Bagna Cauda – literally ‘hot sauce’ adds plenty of spicy garlic to anchovies and olive oil. Diners dip raw vegetable sin the sauce as a celebration of land and sea and wash it all down with some hearty Italian red wines. It’s a dish about as far removed from plain old garlic bread as you can get and is sure to keep the vampires away.