Flavors of Italy – Italian Cuisine by Region

Photo: Flavors of ItalyItalian food evokes this great feeling of warmth, love, and family. That abundance of joy isn’t only felt by those of Italian descent. Today there’s a merging of the cuisines from the different regions of Italy in many American restaurants. For those who are very familiar with Italy, the northern region dishes have a distinctive flavor that’s completely separate from the southern cuisine. Both are excellent in their own right. Italian pasta is a popular dish in every region, but the sauces will have their own flavor.

In America, many Italian dishes have evolved from the creation of the immigrant population who settled here. For instance, spaghetti and meatballs is a popular dish in the US, but not one you’d readily find in Italy. Italian dishes in America are also sometimes specific to the state or region, which is why Italian Beef sandwiches are largely found in Chicago (where they were invented) and pizza tastes different in New York than it will in Philadelphia.

Southern Italian Cuisine

Southern Italian cuisine is often quintessentially Mediterranean. There are similarities between the Sicilian and Greek preparation of certain dishes, for instance. Southern Italian foods often have more spice than their northern counterparts – they’re often hotter, with a preference to red pepper and giardiniera. The tomato sauces tend to be hotter, tangier, and with an abundance of garlic. Fish is a popular dish in the south and many of the meals are prepared with citrus, such as lemon and the blood oranges found in Sicily. The southern region is warmer in climate and many dishes are fresh and light. You’ll find an abundance of steamed fish, with fresh fruits such as figs, and vegetables. Olive oil is often the key choice for cooking, as well as a base for salad dressings.

Northern Italian Cuisine

In contrast to the southern cuisine, northern Italian foods tend to be richer. The food from this region is often compared to French cuisine because the sauces are often butter based and richer in texture. The experience of dining is one of luxury. Northern Italian cuisine also reflects the region, which is quite a bit cooler and there’s an abundance of meat dishes, stews, and Italian pasta with a heavier, cream based sauce. Some popular northern Italian dishes include veal, chicken, and fish prepared with fresh herbs, garlic, and often sauce bases are made with wine.

Northern cuisine offers an eclectic choice, from the antipasto through the decadent desserts. Drink choices are just as important to the authentic northern Italian experience as the food menu. Fine liquors, craft brews, and of course, an eclectic array of various vintage wines form the perfect finishing touch to a meal that’s meant to be the main event of the evening.

In the Chicagoland area, there are many popular restaurants that specialize in Italian Cuisine, though many cater to southern Italian tastes. La Buona Vita in La Grange, features an eclectic menu of pure Northern Italian cuisine. Their specialty drinks and robust wine list are perfectly designed to pair with any meal or taste palate.

Reviews: Italian spots La Buona Vita and La Notte brighten western suburbs

La Buona Vita

When the chef bug bit Terry Rempert, he sold his 20-year-old printing business and, after earning a culinary degree, took over Marconi’s, a popular spot in downtown La Grange. Though he quickly renamed it La Buona Vita (the good life), other changes were more incremental, as much for the customers’ comfort level as his own. In mid-January, Rempert unveiled a redecorated dining room (new colors, new lighting and an eye-catching, circa-1850s map of Italy), a new cocktail program and new menu items.

The dining room is lovely (and usually packed). The menu remains a work in progress.

The menu arrives in a heavy, embossed-cover binder filled with plastic-sleeved pages. Fifteen pastas, nine red-meat entrees, seven chicken, eight seafood — not to mention a half-dozen daily specials on a separate sheet — make up a daunting assortment to contemplate, one that suggests the precise opposite of what a scratch kitchen (Rempert bought an imported extruder to make his own pastas) wants to convey. Cut the menu to a single page, train your waiters to inform guests that their old favorites are available on request, and LBV’s message will be far more clear.

Dining at LBV is a value proposition. There are rotating featured discounts each weekday. Entrees include soup or salad, and the salad is better than it has to be. Portions are substantial…. 

– Phil Vettel, Chicago Tribune

Full Story can be read here:

Chicago Tribune – La Buona Vita in La Grange unveils new look, menu, bar program

Chicago Tribune – La Buona Vita in La Grange unveils new look, menu, bar program

Full Story and video can be seen here:

Northern Italian roots infuse updated look, menu at La Buona Vita in La Grange

LA GRANGE – A familiar restaurant in La Grange is celebrating the new year with a fresh look, a revised menu and a delivery service, to entice new customers and give its regular diners a more relaxed experience.

Full Story can be seen here:

ABC 7 – Grand Reopening of La Grange Italian Restaurant

La Buona Vita is bringing a brand new look for 2017 when the La Grange Italian eatery reopens on January 19-20, 2017. New ambiance and dining tables accompany new menu creations from La Buona Vita’s “scratch kitchen.” The grand reopening will feature a Frank Sinatra tribute band. Owner and Chef, Terry Rempert, visited the ABC 7 State Street Studios to give a taste from La Buona Vita’s new menu.

Full Story and video can be seen here:

La Buona Vita Grand Re-Opening
Date: January 19th & 20th
Hours: 4:00 PM- 11:00 PM
Frank Sinatra Tribute Band – Both Nights
15% off your individual entrée’
Raffle Prizes
Address: 15 Calendar Avenue, La Grange, IL
Phone: (708) 352-1621
Open to the public? Yes

WGN’s Around Town

La Buona Vita featured on Around Town

Special thanks to Ana Belaval with WGN Morning News and WGN TV for having La Buona Vita featured on Around Town yesterday demonstrating the unique Italian homemade pasta machine with owners Terry Rempert and Jim Barron. We were also glad that we could provide a high school yearbook flashback to Valedictorian and now WGN anchor Robin Baumgarten

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