Pasta. The staple ingredient of thousands of Italian dishes. A versatile food with over 600 different varieties enjoyed by people all over the globe for its simplicity, ease of cooking, variety of sauces and, of course, the amazing nutritional benefits. Pasta is, according to a survey carried out by Oxfam, the world’s favourite food.
Predictably, Italy leads the way in worldwide pasta consumption – an estimated 26kg of pasta per head is consumed there annually. Perhaps more surprising, are the second and third place consumers – Venezuela and Tunisia respectively, proving that the simple staple has a truly worldwide appeal.
The origins of pasta are a hotly debated issue and are shrouded in mystery. Italian legend suggests that Marco Polo brought pasta back to Italy in the 13th Century after returning from China. Other theories date pasta much further back – some argue that when the ancient Greeks founded Naples in southern Italy, they started eating a locally made dish containing barley flour pasta which was sun-dried. Others say pasta could even go as far back as ancient Etruscan civilizations who made ‘pasta’ from a mix of ground-up cereals and grains.
Pasta, as we know it today first gained mass popularity in Naples in the 18th century, where it was combined with a tomato-based sauce as a cost-effective solution to feeding large numbers of people. From there, Italian immigrants took pasta to America at the start of the 20th century and the rest, as they say, is history. The universal popularity of pasta has spiralled since then with the latest figures showing annual worldwide sales of €22.7bn.
October 25th is officially World Pasta Day with celebrations across all 5 continents promoting the virtues of pasta including the versatility, economic expediency and nutritional values of this wonderful food.
Every day is Pasta Day at Donatello, of course. We serve a huge variety of pasta dishes, all freshly cooked by our team of experienced chefs to authentic Italian and Sicilian recipes. We also serve gluten-free and wholewheat varieties of pasta to cater for those with special dietary requirements.
You can learn more about pasta from the official site of the International Pasta Organisation (IPO) HERE.