President: Lorenza CIPOLLINA - Mondelez Italia Services s.r.l Secretary: Adele SCICCHITANO
This is a concentrate of meat or vegetables used in cooking to enhance the flavours of various dishes. It usually comes in the form of a cube packed in aluminium foil. This concentrate can also be found in granules, as dry powder and even in the form of jelly. The main ingredients in stock cubes are salt (in variable quantities), monosodium glutamate (although there are several products on the market that no longer contain this ingredient) and other ingredients depending on the type of stock cube: vegetables for vegetable stock cubes and meat extracts for the so-called classic stock cubes, and then mushrooms, fish, animal and vegetable fats, food flavourings, yeast extracts. In recent years, there has been a diffusion of ready-to-use stocks packaged in cartons (meat, vegetable, etc.).
Meat extract is a particularly important ingredient in cooking, used for many years to flavour and enhance dressings, sauces, stocks, risottos and roast meats. It is a highly concentrated meat stock made by boiling and concentrating lean beef, which is then packaged and stored at room temperature, also for long periods of time.
The name Minestrone derives from the Italian verb minestrare, to administer, because it was served at the table, “administered” by the head of the family. It is more liquid than soup and in addition to the usual vegetables it contains cereals such as rice, pasta, spelt, barley, etc. In Lombardy it is made with rice, while in Veneto and Emilia Romagna, pasta or cappelletti are added.
It is made of vegetables but it can be served with croutons. There is never rice or pasta in a soup. Its name is similar in all European languages, deriving from the Gothic word “suppa”, which indicated the slice of bread that was put in the bowls before the broth was poured in. Soup is thick and has a consistent texture, and there is very little liquid, which is absorbed by bread and croutons. Soup is very popular in Tuscany, particular with collard as the main vegetable, while in Calabria and Sicily they use legumes and beans. In Sardinia, it is traditional to added pieces of cheese.
A French term, now part of Italy’s gastronomic language, indicating a meat, chicken or fish stock eaten hot or cold at the beginning of a meal, usually in the evening. Consomme can be served on its own (perhaps flavoured with a fortified wine such as Port or Madera) or garnished (very thinly cut pasta, almond paste, vegetable julienne, croutons, poached eggs, etc.).
In recent years, ready-to-use stocks have become widespread. It is obtained by boiling beef, poultry, vegetables and extracts in water, after which it is sterilised and packaged in cartons. There are many different variations of liquid stock on the market, and it is used to make soups, risottos, or pasta in broth.
Sauces and condiments, including some very elaborated ones with lots of ingredients and spices, have always been used in cooking to add flavour and aromas to foods. Below is a brief description of the most used industrial products.
Mayonnaise (from the French “mayonnaise” or from the Catalan “mahonesa”)
This is one of the most famous and popular dressings; it is creamy and smooth, generally white or pale yellow, and is eaten cold. It is a stable emulsion of vegetable oil in water, with egg yolk as the emulsifier, flavoured with vinegar or lemon juice; the use of mustard is also allowed. The ingredients are egg yolk, mustard (optional), vinegar, oil and lemon juice. When other ingredients are added, it has various other names. Optional ingredients are, for example, salt, seasonings, spices, herbs, mustard.
This is a pasty product with mustard seeds or mustard flour as a characteristic ingredient. Other typical ingredients are vinegar, sour grape juice, grape must, fruit juice, alcoholic beverages or other liquid foods, sugars, salt, herbs, spices and flavourings. It is a condiment obtained from the ground seeds of the mustard plant, native to Asia and a member of the cruciferous family. Mustard is used in cooking and is much loved by consumers. The ingredients in mustard vary from country to country, combined to create different recipes, with a more or less intense flavour depending on the spices used.
In Italy, industrial mustard is made of a mixture of:
- White mustard seeds
- Black mustard seeds
Other famous and much appreciated variations are French mustard, especially Dijon mustard which is particularly spicy and flavoursome, and “moutarde à l’ancienne” – well-known and increasingly appreciated in Italy – which is an old-style grainy mustard made in part with whole mustard seeds, giving it a particularly grainy texture and an unmistakable flavour.
Tomato Ketchup is a smooth dressing/condiment made from ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or tomato derivatives, including concentrate, with added vinegar, sugars, salt and aromatic ingredients and their extracts, such as onions, spices and permitted additives. The minimum content of dry tomato extract is 6%.
This is a widely used condiment that is used to coat meat during barbecuing. The barbecue sauce is brushed onto the meat in order to flavour it during cooking. The sauce can also be paired with French fries or fried chicken.
This originally French condiment is a “rich” version of mayonnaise, made of both fresh and hard-boiled eggs whipped with oil and then flavoured with chopped pickled gherkins, capers, parsley, tarragon and often other ingredients such as mustard, olives, raw onion or chives, etc.
Worcestershire sauce, or Worcester sauce, is a sweet and sour, slightly spicy English condiment, named after the English county of the same name. It is dark brown and suitable for meats, sauces and soups, and is an indispensable ingredient in some cocktails. The recipe hasn’t changed since its invention in 1835: the sauce is aged in wooden barrels for three years, and the ingredients include onions, garlic, salted anchovies, onion shallots and aromatic herbs. After aging, malt vinegar, tamarind, cloves, red pepper and sugarcane molasses are added.
Ragu is a condiment/sauce made from tomatoes and minced or chopped meat that is cooked for many hours. The name derives from the French “ragout”, which in turn derives from “ragouter”, which means “to awaken the appetite”. Originally the term indicated highly-seasoned stewed meat that was then served with other dishes. In Italy it became the traditional sauce for pasta on feast days. Various ingredients are used to make it, varying according to the region. Ingredients that are always present include tomato, beef (sometimes mixed with pork), olive oil, celery, carrots. The typical Italian ragus are Bolognese ragu and Neapolitan ragu. Ragu is usually used as a sauce for pasta, in flans and also served with polenta. In recent years, fish and tofu ragus (for vegetarians) have become popular.
Tomato sauce is probably one of the most common and traditional pasta sauces in Italian cuisine: there are infinite versions of the basic recipe, made with puree, tomato pulp or peeled tomatoes. The origins of tomato sauce: real tomato sauce is less than two centuries old, or at least the Italian version is. As is well known, the tomato plant is not native to Europe, and before America was discovered no one on the old continent knew of its existence. Tomatoes were in fact brought to Europe for the first time in the 1500s, not long after the Spanish conquest of America. The Aztecs called the tomato “Tomatl”. It was later also known as the “Love Apple” because of its shape, and then the “Golden Apple” due to the variety of yellow tomatoes that were very popular at the time. The first recipe for tomato sauce is attributed to the Aztecs, who made a sauce consisting of red and green chili peppers, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, onions and spices. Today there are many different recipes for tomato sauce – a symbol of Italian cuisine – based on the basic recipe of tomato and basil and including various ingredients such as vegetables and various herbs/spices.
Ingredients for ice cream: a little history
These ingredients appeared in the 1950s to meet a few practical needs related to the production of artisanal ice cream in ice cream parlours: these included the simplification of the measurements and mixing the ingredients, the need to preserve the raw materials, their function as binders, a reduction in production times, hygiene guarantees.
The first products that appeared on the market to be used as stabilisers – instead of eggs and sugar – were carob and guar seed flour and gelatine and pectin, natural products with thickening and stabilizing properties. As they didn’t provide anything from an organoleptic point of view, the mixture of these ingredients was defined as a Neutral Stabiliser. Unlike egg and sugar, these Neutral Stabilisers guaranteed better results. Due to a few somewhat problematic aspects of using Neutral Stabilisers (the need for correct and extremely precise measurements), Bases were introduced, which made it easier to measure out the Neutral Stabilisers and other necessary ingredients. The first Bases contained a mixture of stabilisers and emulsifiers, as well as other functional ingredients to ensure a well-balanced final product. Today there is a wide and diversified range of bases, and this allows artisan ice cream makers to meet the numerous demands that change according to consumer tastes and the seasons. They range from bases for making dairy ice creams to those for fruit ice creams; some make the ice cream creamier and softer, others lighter and more delicate. Regardless of the recipe ice cream makers decide to use, or whether they use primary materials or resort completely or partially to the use of semi-finished products, when making artisan ice cream it is essential to use stabilisers, thickeners and emulsifiers, which have a decisive effect on the microstructure of the ice cream and contribute to the physicochemical stability of the finished product. It is possible to make ice cream without stabilisers, thickeners and emulsifiers, but its structure will never be of the same quality as an ice cream made with the correct measurements of all the necessary ingredients.
Ingredients for ice cream: what they are
Today artisans have a wide range of ingredients to choose from when producing artisan ice cream, based on their needs and the tastes of their customers. They use common ingredients like milk, sugars, fruit, water, cream, eggs and powdered milk, while other ingredients like neutral stabilisers, bases and pastes are less known by the consumer because they are produced specifically for ice cream, and are intended for professional producers of quality ice cream. Bases and pastes can be made by the artisans themselves, or purchased from companies that produce specialised ingredients, as is the case in many other food sectors. The ingredients can be classified as follows, according to the function that each of them is intended to perform, and in relation to the different methods used to make the ice cream.
Powdered ingredients for base mixes
This category includes all the blends of raw materials in powder form that have the function of stabilizing and integrating the ice cream base.
They can be divided into:
1) Neutral Stabilisers: a mixture of ingredients with a stabilizing and emulsifying function. This category includes thickeners such as carob seed flour, guar gum and tara gum and emulsifiers like lecithin and monodiglycerides of fatty acids.
2) Ice Cream Bases: powder mix bases for ice cream vary according to the measurements and ingredients that are present. Generally, they consist of a core of stabilisers and emulsifiers and other ingredients that have the function of improving the quality of the ice cream, such as milk powder, milk proteins, sugars and derivatives, fibre and plant-based proteins.
Characterising ingredients for base mixes
These preparations are typical in Italian tradition and are used to flavour ice cream and give its individual flavour. They can be divided into:
1) Characterising ingredients in powder form: these can be added to the bases, before or after pasteurisation, in varying amounts depending on the strength of the flavour required for the finished product (ice cream). This category includes, for example: preparations made with cacao powder, freeze-dried coffee, powdered liquorice, powdered yogurt, cheeses.
2) Characterising ingredients in paste form: these can be added to the bases before or after pasteurisation, in varying amounts depending on the strength of the flavour required for the ice cream. They can be divided into three main categories, based on their composition: fatty pastes, for example: hazelnut, pistachio, almond, gianduja and chocolate pastes; sugary pastes, made with sugary syrups, combined with, for example, eggs, coffee, mascarpone, concentrated milk, egg yolk, wines and other alcoholic substances, etc.; fruit pastes: made of fruit and sugars, citric acid, pectin, etc. They are used to supplement and stabilise the taste of the fresh fruit in the ice cream.
Complete preparations in powder, paste or liquid form (with basic ingredients, structuring products and characterising ingredients) make it possible to produce creamy and fruit ice creams quickly, with no additional ingredients other than water and/or milk, according to the respective recipes. These products are mainly used abroad, in countries where it is difficult to find fresh milk and cream. The recipe can also be integrated with other additional ingredients.
Ingredients for variegates and decoration
These preparations are used to garnish ice cream and bakery products. They can be based on sugary syrups or honey, chocolate or cacao, coffee or infusions, dried fruit, fruit and vegetable preserves or preparations, fruit juices and pulp, candied or syruped fruit, alcoholic products, possibly integrated with food colourings and flavourings.
Food specialties and ready-made foods that can be consumed immediately, respecting the tastes of consumers.
There are many and varied offers of gastronomic specialties on the market: appetizers (land and sea, etc.), first and second courses / single or multi portion dishes, side dishes, sauces and various condiments.
The offer of these products, both fresh and with longer shelf life, has developed a lot in recent years, always in line with the evolution of consumption and consumer demands for quality and ready-made foods.
The best of Italian cuisine, and also ethnic, with attention to the care of ingredients and packaging to ensure optimal storage until consumption.
Preparations for cakes, pizzas, desserts, drinks and the like - Yeasts
Preparations for cakes, pizzas, desserts, drinks, etc. represent a wide range of quality products able to meet the multiple demands of the market. They generally consist of mixtures of various components or mixes of flours and other ingredients, which allow a quick, tasty and certainly successful preparation of many foods, both sweet (classic cakes, desserts and hot/milkshake drinks, etc.) and savory (pizza, savory cakes), italian and non-Italian culinary tradition.
Preparations ranging from the simplest recipes to the most delicious and composed, which involve the addition by the consumer of some ingredients, with the possibility also to "customize" the recipe according to their tastes. A great help in the kitchen, also for the occasions of conviviality of the "last minute"... and it's always party.
Bread is a basic food product, always present in homes all over the world in many forms and variations. It is obtained by cooking a mixture of wheat flour or other grain-based flours, water, yeast, salt and a variety of other ingredients. Bread can also be “unleavened”. The flours used are obtained from wheat, rye, barley, corn, soy, etc. The history of bread dates back to primitive humans and then to ancient Egypt, where once fermentation was discovered, rich families grinded the grains of cereals and mixed them with water, then cooking the loaves in ovens. From Egypt the art of baking was introduced into Greece. The Greek civilization developed bread dough by adding milk and flavouring it with herbs, wine or honey. The bread making technique was then introduced into Italy by Romans, who further elaborated the recipe, adding more ingredients to give it flavour and a more appealing appearance, such as olives and apples. Wheat bread is mainly consumed in European countries where the climate is temperate, whereas in the cold countries of northern Europe, rye bread is often very widespread, as rye is much more resistant to harsh climates than wheat.
Alongside artisan bread, consumers can now also find industrially produced bread (fresh, long-lasting, frozen or partially cooked and frozen). The production process for these types of bread is exactly the same as it is for artisan bread, and is divided into the following stages:
- Making the dough
- First rise (the dough is left to rise)
- Dividing and shaping
- Packaging, when required
For frozen partially baked or baked bread, there are also the freezing and packaging stages. There are numerous varieties of bread available in the various Italian regions – around 250 – each using ingredients that are available in the area. For example, in Southern Italy hard wheat flour is used for making bread, which is traditionally used for pasta. Hard wheat crops are less widespread because it requires warm climates and is typical of regions where the climate is mild. Bread made with hard wheat flour has a lighter consistency than bread made with soft wheat flour. In Sicily, the crust of bread made with hard wheat semolina flour is flavoured with cumin, sesame or anise seeds. In other regions, such as Lombardy, where rice growing is a common practice, light, soft rice bread is made with soft wheat flour mixed with rice flour, which gives it a particularly light consistency. In other areas where corn cultivation is widespread, for example in Emilia Romagna and Lombardy, it is still customary to make “yellow bread”, obtained with a high percentage of corn flour mixed with wheat flour. Bread with olives is a typical specialty in Mediterranean countries, especially in Southern Italy, and has now spread throughout Italy.
Bread made with rye flour is typical of mountain regions; it is very popular in Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Trentino Alto Adige and Valtellina. Bread made with fruit such as raisins, dried figs, walnuts and grape must when it is in season, is particularly high in calories and suitable for snacks and at breakfast.
A few figures
In 2017, the Industrial Bread sector reached a turnover of €767 million and represents approximately 10-15% of the total amount of bread consumed in Italy. About 40% of production is sold through large-scale distribution. Artisan bread accounts for 88% of consumption, and the overall expenditure, which includes bread, breadsticks and crackers, is 8 billion euros per year.