Russian salad

There are products and recipes in Italy that Italians themselves consider foreign
and not traditional even though they are very well-known, appreciated and diffused.

Prague ham

This was produced for the first time over 150 years ago in Prague, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire still included north-east Italy within its borders. This particular type of lightly smoked ham soon reached the border of the empire, in Trieste. As years went by, it was forgotten in Prague where production ceased. Today, if you want to taste or buy it in Prague, you will have a hard time finding it or you will be offered a poor substitute in the form of a vulgar shoulder ham that has nothing to do with the original. In Italy on the other hand, despite the centuries, this delicious product has a lively tradition and its history is now fully domesticated to the point that it has been included in the list of traditional Italian alimentary products.

 Russian salad

Many believe this is an ancient recipe from Russia at the time of the tsars. Russian salad belongs to the category of salads composed of cooked and raw vegetables, dressed with mayonnaise. There are many variations on the theme. Today, this is one of the most classical antipastos of Piedmont. There are various explanations of its origin. Some say it was created in Moscow by Lucien Olivier, chef at the Hermitage, inspired by a French recipe. The most likely and accredited story of its origin puts Catherine de’ Medici in the role of protagonist, who took it to France when she moved to Paris in 1533 with all her cooks. Another theory with many believers says that this recipe has nothing in common with either French or Russian versions, but takes its name from the type of table service, that is, Russian. In any case, it is an Italian speciality.

 Zuppa inglese

This is one of the most famous and appreciated of Italian sweets, as famous as tiramisù. It has no English characteristics although many believe it originated in Great Britain. It was already present at the court of the House of Este in Ferrara during the 16th century as the sweet that inspired the Trifle, the traditional English sweet pudding. Another theory says it originated in the 1800s in Florence, thanks to a housekeeper who worked for a noble English family. Others, instead, claim that the name depends on the use of rum, an aqua vitae that was much appreciated by English sailors.

 Sartù di riso

This is a timbale of rice in the tradition of Naples. It has ancient origins. The Aragonese introduced it to Naples in the 14th century, but it was not very successful. To the contrary. It was immediately nicknamed sciacquapanza or worse, and used in medicine as a laxative. It was only in the 1700s that the cooks at the Bourbon court proposed it with the addition of fried aubergines, peas, tomato sauce and little meatballs to the rice. It was a great success and the dish immediately became one of the pillars of Neapolitan cuisine.


I have chosen to include one of the best-known Italian dishes in this list: pizza. In recent years, Italy is losing the origin and paternity of this product. In Japan and China, for example, many consider pizza to be an American dish and they are convinced it was actually invented by the Americans. The reason for this confusion depends on the fact that the first to take pizza to the Far East were the major chain stores like Pizza Hut. In the United States, the young generations have the same conviction. Leaving the discussion aside, pizza is Italian, or more precisely, Neapolitan.