Analysing where the contents of my store cupboard come from I find Italy more than any other country as major contributor. The influence of Italy on contemporary cooking is enormous. Fresh pasta and polenta are staples of today’s global kitchen. Olive oil, seafood and tomatoes, once typical of Southern Italy, are now the lingua franca of healthy eating from Canberra to California. Remove Italy from the culinary melting pot and you remove one of its most important constituents. Internationally the food of the South currently holds sway, but a richer balance is to be found in the risotti and ragù of the North, the cured pork products like salamis and the world-renowned Parma ham that are a gift to the instant first course and Parmesan, one of the most wonderful cheeses ever created.