Italy is a small country with a large population. Although small, the country produces a lot of foods, and some such as parmegiano reggiano, taleggio, a range of fruits and vegetables, risotto rice (aroborio, carnaroli, vialone nano), wines, processed meats (mortadella, Bologna, prosciutto di Parma, prosciutto di San Daniele, bresaola delle Valtellina,and speck Alto Adige.
Italian pastas taste better than those anywhere else, although manufacturers buy the wheat (durum) from Canada.
Italy exports 40 billion Euros worth foods and food manufacturing equipment to a number of countries.
Italy has the most P D O (Protected Designation Of Origin) products in the European Union. PDO label identifies products that are produced, processed, and prepared in a specific geographical area, using special techniques, and only foods that are grown or produced in the region.
Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) identifies products whose quality or reputation is linked to the place of origin of production, but not necessarily, where they are grown i.e pasta from the village of Gragnano near Naples, balsamic vinegar from Modena, mortadella , Bologna, bresaola della Valtellina, and speck from Alto Adige.
Italian immigrants to North America, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil introduced and popularized authentic P D O and P G I products in their new countries, by opening restaurants sharing recipes with neighbors trough TV programs, and tasting.
Many countries have tried, and still try to produce parmegiano reggiano cheese, but never succeed, as they don’t have access to the milk, and lack the know-how. This is the essence of terroir, and Italians use it to encourage exports and spread their culture all over the world.
Italian trade commissioners in important importing countries stage food and wine tastings frequently.
On November 8 the Italian trade commissioner to Canada organized a tasting of Italian delicacies in Toronto to the elite of the society, serving- pizzas made with San Marzano tomatoes, carnaroli rice risotto enhanced with balsamic vinegar from Modena, hand-crafted spaghetti from Gragnano near Naples, cheeses (asiago, parmegiano reggiano, taleggio, bra, gorgonzola, fontina, pecorino Toscano, toma Piedmontese, mozzarella di buffala Campania, Valtellina casera, Piave, and grana padano), extra virgin olive oil from Puglia, mortadella from Bologna, prosciuto from Parma, prosciutto from San Daniele, bresaola della Valetllina, and speck from Alto Adige.
A selection of fine Italian wines was also served.
All above are available in high-end grocery stores in macro Canadian cities.
Look for them and try to avoid fakes.