During the 1960’s and 70’s, Italian wine was unable to hold its own with the likes of France, famed for its sought after and expensive bottles. The situation failed to improve in the 90’s, with most of Italy’s wine being produced to please the international markets.
The fact that Italy is a Peninsula with a long shoreline, with 20 wine regions, it’s easy to see how they contribute 1/3 of the world’s production of wine, but things needed to change.
Italian wine-lovers fear not, for the last 10 years has seen a vast improvement on the quality of Italy’s wine. Investment from government institutions and a younger, determined generation of wine-makers, who see the potential of the grapes, are proving that Italian wines are very much back in the game.
Almost every region of the country grows grapes, and with around one million vineyards, surely there’s no better way to explore than by bike.
It’s not just about the wine, like the Italian language, food in Italy differs between regions. Picture the boot shaped Peninsula; the South, generally speaking, is all about Olive Oil and pasta. The centre of the country relies on meats, pasta, olive oil and butter, while the Northern parts rice and butter – however, there are many exceptions and these are by no means rule of thumb!
Top tip – look out for those hidden Gems of restaurants/cafes, the more Italians you see inside, the better chance you will have to taste ‘real’ Italy. After an authentic dining experience, you will leave with a better knowledge and/or understanding of what Italian cuisine is. One thing you can be sure of, it’s not all about pizzas – think fresh vegetables, meat, fruits, cheeses and coffee – these have all contributed towards Italy producing one of the world’s most desirable cuisines.