Regional cuisines survive partially for simple environmental and geographical reasons. The human need for both novelty and tradition ensures the world will never settle for a lowest common denominator diet.
Regional cuisines enjoy a tremendous advantage over so called royal or haute cuisines – all ingredients are as fresh as they can be, and cooked lovingly by people who understand the importance of freshness.
The ancient saying that what grows together goes well together forms the basis of regional cuisine. Around the Mediterranean basin, people eat foods in season. Only staples are preserved in one or another form.
Of course, vegetables that can be pickled (i.e eggplants, cucumbers, green tomatoes, carrots, green and red peppers, cabbage) are, to serve the need in winter.
Canned and frozen foods are rarely, if ever, used around the Mediterranean basin, although in the past decade or two, convenience started to compel younger people to use them.
The genius of humankind has an uncanny ability to invent new taste sensations by combining compatible foods.
Think of tomatoes and basil, chicken and tarragon, lamb and thyme, and potatoes and rosemary.
Then of course, spies come to mind. Venice got rich by trading spices, and cooks in the Middle ages had ample time to ascertain the best food and spice combinations beside salt and pepper.
Close to Naples in San Marzano, tomatoes grow so well and posses such intense flavour that Neapolitan cooks invented the tomato sauce. Pasta was already there. The combination of spaghetti and tomato sauce is still and excellent choice.
Similarly, one must think of pizza. The classic pizza is small, thin bit of dough covered with a little tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella di bufala (cheese that is abundant around Campania.
In Sicily the cuisine is based around vegetables, lamb, and olive oil.
North of Rome in Tuscany
Cooks use flat pasta, more butter, beans, rice, beef, spinach, and rbead.
In Piedmont, cheese becomes pore prevalent, and butter is sued lieberally.
Provence in France has a unique cuisine based on tree ingredients olive oil, tomatoes and garlic. Seafood, saffron, and herbs play an important role in Provence recipes.
Further north in Normandy, chefs use butter, cream, apple brandy, apples, seafood and lamb.
In Paris the cuisine tends to feature ingredients from everywhere, like cheese and butter from Normandy, vegetables and fruits from Bordeaux and Normandy, cabbage from Alsace, and seafood both from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
French believe in terroir (combination of soil, climate, exposure of the terrain and composition of the soil) and “brand” foods food from a particular region.
This is called appellation system, which has been developed throughout the country, and now adapted by the EU.
For a French consumer Brie comes from Normandy, where it was invented, and Roquefort from the eponymous town.
White asparagus from Arganteuil and Lauris are the tastiest, and Bleu d’Auvergne must come from Auvergne.
Bresse chicken must be raised according strict rules and regulation in that region, and nowhere else. The list goes on for many pages, not only in France but also in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and many other countries.
In Germany white asparagus from Schwetzingen is so famous, that the in season people travel long distances to enjoy them in local restaurants specializing in asparagus recipes.
In Italy the D O P (Denominazione die origine protetta) applies to many foods. Famous foods of one region must originate there.
Fraudulent products, if detected, are immediately removed from shelves, and investigators try to ascertain the address on the culprit for prosecution.
Parmesan cheese must origin in the delimited Parma region, San Daniele ham comes from the eponymous village, Chianina cattle from the valley of the same name in Tuscany, just to name a few.
In the U S A, the ppellation of food has been neglected with a few possible excpetions, one being ham, that are fed with peanuts, and oranegs from Fliorda, and navel organges from California.
In China, regional cuisines abound , and every village has its own styule. Geenrqwlly, though, four distinct Chinese cuisines are recognized: Shanghai, canton, Szechwan, and Peking or Beijing. There are many otehrs.
Regional cuisines are moree focused, pure in taste, and display a charm in that convoluted recipes fail to delvier.
Connaoisseurs seem to be happier with expertly cooked and qwell presenmted regional foods that pretentious dishes invented to honour a celebrity.