Italian cuisine has become a key aspect of modern British culture. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without dishes and drinks brought over from Italy or influenced by their traditional cuisine; just take pizza, pasta, ice cream and cappuccino as examples. Wherever you go in the UK, from the south coast to Sheffield and further north, you will find plenty of Italian restaurants and Italian takeaways. But how did Italian food become so popular in the UK?
At Casa Italia, we are passionate about serving an authentic Italian menu, including food and Italian wine, and this involves understanding the history of our food, including its journey from the continent, which we share with you here.
Over the centuries, Italians have left their stamp on places across the UK, including the Sheffield area, but it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century that large numbers of Italians began to emigrate. Thousands of Italians moved to Britain at this time, when the country had an open-door immigration policy, bringing their culinary skills along with classic Italian wine and ingredients. While many found work as waiters and kitchen staff, others set up traditional ice cream parlours, cafés and other eateries offering Italian menus; the beginning of the modern Italian restaurant.
Throughout the 20th century, Italian cuisine continued to grow in popularity, with Italian-owned cafés and parlours popping up everywhere from Sheffield and Glasgow to the mining communities of Wales. Offering proper coffee, homemade cakes, ice cream and other treats, as well as elegant décor. As such, these establishments offered a welcome retreat, providing a comfortable setting and delicious, traditional food.
One of the most popular Italian dishes today, pizza, appeared in Britain in 1965 with the launch of the first Pizza Express restaurant in London, signalling what is commonly accepted to be the start of the modern love for Italian dining, including Italian wine and Italian takeaway.
Italian eateries serving traditional chicken, meat, fish and pasta dishes, such as Casa Italia in Sheffield, started to become popular in the 1960s. This led to a growth in the amount of Italian food people ate in their daily lives. The most obvious example being pasta, which replaced potatoes as the staple of many meals. As such, it is easy to see how Italian cuisine spread, with restaurants popping up to serve native British diners as well as immigrants from Italy and Europe.
These days, there are many well-known Italian themed restaurants, but not as many offering true Italian food prepared in the traditional way and using quality ingredients. However, at Casa Italia we serve an authentic Italian menu, with our experienced chef preparing everything in-house, as it is done in Italy. Offering everything from classic dishes and desserts to Italian takeaway, we present the very finest in modern Italian dining.