Pasta, pizza, parmesan cheese - we have Italy to thank for some of our favourite foods.
Home to a dazzling array of wines, cheeses, breads, vegetables and salamis, Italy has become a mecca for foodies.
Outside Italy, cities around the world are home to Michelin-starred Italian restaurants and television chefs extol the virtues of Italian cuisine, presenting it as a model of fresh and healthy eating.
Taking readers across the country's regions and beyond, Al Dente explores how Italy's cuisines became what they are today.
For centuries, southern Mediterranean countries such as Italy fought against food scarcity, wars, invasions and an unfavourable agricultural environment.
Lacking meat and dairy, Italy developed foodways that depended on grains, legumes and vegetables until a stronger economy in the late 1950s allowed the majority of Italians to afford a more diverse diet.
The last half century has seen new packaging, conservation techniques, industrial mass production and more sophisticated systems of transportation and distribution, bringing about profound changes in how the country's population thinks about food. Including historical recipes for delicious Italian dishes to enjoy alongside a glass of crisp Chianti, Al Dente is a fascinating history of what is perhaps the world's favourite cuisine.