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Italy’s Four Most Important Herbs

Herbs bring unique flavours to the table and they are generally used for cooking and medical use. They are aromatic which makes them great for enhancing the flavour of food. In terms of medicine, they are helpful in keeping the body active and healthy. Many Italian restaurants use herbs in their cooking; they’re used fresh if in season or else they are dried and stored for later use.


Listed below are four of Italy's most important herbs that you should know about.

 

Oregano


• What is it?


It is a perennial and herbaceous plant originally grown in the Mediterranean regions. Oregano, to reach its fullest potential in terms of aroma and growth, needs open air and a lot of sunlight. It usually grows wild in areas around 2000 meters above the sea level. Oregano grown near the sea has the best quality and aroma.


• How is it used in cooking?


It is a key ingredient used in the pasta dishes of Southern Italy. Oregano is usually added at the end of cooking as it loses its flavour pretty quick. Its potent aroma or flavour goes well with tomatoes and it is one of the few herbs which acquire more taste when dried. It is used as a topping on pastas, pizzas, salads and the Sicilian salsa.

Rosemary


• What is it?


Popularly known as the "Queen of aromatic plants", rosemary is another typical Mediterranean plant that can grow in both wild and controlled environments. Rosemary will need heat and open-air to grow; its best you keep it in a pot outdoors. It is known to effectively combat depression while improving memory and concentration. Make sure to keep the plant away from chilly weather as it cannot tolerate temperatures below 10°C.


• How is it used in cooking?


Rosemary grows in abundance in the Italian countryside. It is used to marinate and grill meat. Some people prefer to throw some rosemary directly on the grill to get the lovely aroma into the food. Although its strong flavour goes well with vegetables, lamb, beef and potatoes, the herb needs to be used at the beginning of the cooking process as it takes time to soften. Most Italian family restaurants use rosemary in their sweet dishes such as “Pan di Ramerino” and “Castagnaccio”.

3. Sage

 

• What is it?


It is an easy-to-grow rustic plant that needs sunlight for adequate growth. Sage cannot tolerate cold climatic conditions and can be grown indoors if the conditions are good enough. It has good aromatic, digestive, antiseptic and even healing properties.


• How is it used in cooking?


Sage is used to flavour soups, vegetables, meat and even fish. It is generally used solo as its aroma can be too overwhelming when used in combination with other herbs. Italian restaurants serve ravioli with sage butter and beans "all'uccelletto", which brings out the wonderful flavours of sage and lets you absorb its beautiful aroma and taste.

4. Parsley


• What is it?


Parsley is originally from the Mediterranean and western regions of Asia. It is now grown all over the world and is known for its vibrant aroma and medicinal properties. As a rustic plant, it grows well in a moderate climate, preferably in partial shade. It is advised that the stems of parsley be removed as they grow to allow new stems to develop well. Parsley is rich in vitamins and proteins.


• How is it used in cooking?


It is used directly in cooking and also as a garnish. It's also widely used alongside garlic in most Italian dishes. Parsley is used in regional sauces as well, such as the Tuscan "Salsa Verde" and Lombardy's "Gremolata". Mushrooms and parsley taste divine together.

 

Fresh herbs are definitely better for taste and for your body. Romeo's welcomes you for the ultimate Italian wine and dine experience. Relish a meal to remember with your family and friends. Call us now to learn more about the food we offer!

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