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Damaged, adulterated and just plain fake Italian foods
Old 11-23-2022, 07:24 PM   #1
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Damaged, adulterated and just plain fake Italian foods

I ran across an article in Italy Magazine about a survey of Italians who travel outside of Italy. They were asked if they had encountered any counterfeit or otherwise messed up Italian products and cooking. Sadly, three out of four Italians had encountered these messed up products.

So forget about the stock and bond market, Twitter, EVs and all the rest and get a feel for some real problems

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In survey results that are likely to surprise, well, no one, 73% or approximately three out of four Italians indicated that they have come across faux Made in Italy specialty products or traditional recipes botched beyond repair when traveling abroad.

Conducted by Coldiretti — Italy’s primary organization representing farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs — the survey was launched for the 7th annual Week of Italian Cuisine Around the World, which began on November 14 and continues through November 20. A non-specified number of Italians weighed in on “food fails” they've spotted around the world, ranging from the Belgian habit of using cream instead of pecorino cheese in carbonara, to the German propensity to cook a Milanese veal cutlet with seed oil instead of olive oil, to the particularly polemical Dutch tiramisu made without —wait for it — mascarpone. Che orrore (the horror)!

Coldiretti’s report also cited the traditional recipe for Genoese pesto as one of the most routinely obliterated around the world, pointing to pistachios and walnuts used in place of the customary pinoli (pine nuts) and to “common" cheeses standing in for parmigiano reggiano and pecorino romano.

Italy’s dedication to preserving the integrity of its food traditions is well-documented, and the line between “creative reinterpretation” and full-on “corruption” is a hotly contested one. Ettore Prandini, President of Coldiretti, is concerned about the number of misconceptions circulating. “It is significant and worrying that one of the most widespread “Italian” dishes is spaghetti alla bolognese, which is all the rage in England,” Prandini said, “but which does not exist in the national tradition, except on tourist trap menus.”
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For a bit of fun after those sobering counterfeit figures, we at Italy Magazine compiled a non-comprehensive shortlist of consumables commonly misunderstood to be “Italian.”
  • Spaghetti and meatballs. While, yes, it’s a beloved classic of Italian-American cuisine, no Italy-residing Italian would ever bring it a tavola (to the table).
  • Caprese salads made with mealy “industrial mozzarella” instead of fresh mozzarella di bufala. Blasphemy!
  • Slapping the word "Tuscan" on a frozen pizza box or in front of a generically creamy chicken dish on a restaurant menu may make it sell, but doesn't make it so.
  • Pesto made with any achene besides pine nuts has dead Ligurian purists turning in their graves. (Rules aren't always meant to be followed, but you've got to learn them before you can break them, right?)
  • Fettuccine alfredo. Many wide-eyed newcomers to Italy have had the experience of asking for the dish and hearing in response, "Who's Alfredo?"
  • And to wash it all down, prosecco knock-offs are cropping up all over the globe — Croatian Prosek, German Consecco and Perisecco, and Austrian Whitesecco, to name a few.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I ran across an article in Italy Magazine about a survey of Italians who travel outside of Italy. They were asked if they had encountered any counterfeit or otherwise messed up Italian products and cooking. Sadly, three out of four Italians had encountered these messed up products.

So forget about the stock and bond market, Twitter, EVs and all the rest and get a feel for some real problems
You forgot Kirkland prosecco from Costco and no mention of Chef Boyardee products.
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Old 11-24-2022, 07:26 AM   #3
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I'm so fortunate to have been born with an insensitive palate. I will say that some of the Italian food I ate in Italy was not as tasty (to me) as what I could get at home. BUT some was amazing by comparison and I've never matched it no matter the local source. So this is one I don't worry to much about. YMMV
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Old 11-24-2022, 07:30 AM   #4
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Kinda like how I feel when I see Cajun food out of south Louisiana.
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Old 11-24-2022, 07:36 AM   #5
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Kinda like how I feel when I see Cajun food out of south Louisiana.
South of I-10 in Louisiana is a foreign country! LOL!
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Old 11-24-2022, 07:56 AM   #6
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Go to England and order Buffalo wings.

Its hilarious.
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Old 11-24-2022, 08:25 AM   #7
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Go to England and order Buffalo wings.

Its hilarious.
Okay, I'll bite. Good? Bad? Dramatically different? Too spicy? Not spicy? Real buffalo? Or do they just have no idea what you're asking for?
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Old 11-24-2022, 08:55 AM   #8
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We did a hiking trip a few years ago along the Amalfi Coast - it started in Naples. We arrived late at night and were told by the hotel there was a small restaurant around the corner that would serve us.
So we walked down a dark alley to a cute little locals place. We excitedly ordered a margherita pizza since we heard Naples was it’s birthplace. As we waited for our food, we looked around and saw what the locals were eating - stacks of focaccia piled high next to plates of deep fried soft shell crabs. It began a series of experiences that made us realize that there is Italian food and there is American Italian.
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Old 11-24-2022, 09:27 AM   #9
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Okay, I'll bite. Good? Bad? Dramatically different? Too spicy? Not spicy? Real buffalo? Or do they just have no idea what you're asking for?
We made it a bit of game to order wings when we lived there.

I've had "buffalo" wings show up as:
- Plain deep fried wings
- BBQ sauce
- Lemon Pepper
- Curry
- and once even with a bit of tang from some sort of hot sauce

We did find one place made half-decent actual Buffalo wings.

We're back in the US now and I order wings every chance I get.
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