About Pasta > History
Pasta, a loving word for everyone. A word associated with the consumption for millions of people all around the world. A word that is synonymous to the taste and flavour. A word that has myths, legends and history starting from the ancient times. The history of pasta goes back to very ancient times. The first known reference to pasta is dating since 1000 BC in ancient Greece.
The word laganon was a Plakoti yeast from flour and water, which was used for feeding the ancient Greeks. In the 8th century B.C, the first Greek settlers who immigrated to Italy brought with them the laganon, renamed to laganum which is the lasagna.
Cereals, from which pasta is coming from, are consumed since 8000 BC, the time that man began to cultivate and consume products from cereals.
Historical data show that pasta is eaten by the Egyptians and it was a very popular food in China around 6000 years ago. Different sources attribute the origin of pasta in
different populations, such as Chinese, Etruscans, Romans and Arabs. Marco Polo is
considered to have brought pasta from China back to Italy in D1292 A, although the
Italians deny this version of pasta, as were produced in Palermo, Sicily since 1154 AD. Specifically, at the outskirts of Palermo it was produced a string-shaped pasta, which is exported by boat both to Christian and to Muslim countries. So the legend that gave primacy not to Naples, but to Palermo is dissolved. There is also produced dried pasta, according to the typical Arab custom, as the nomads of the desert had to keep them dry during their movements.
The first clear evidence of the pasta existence was in the 12th century, when Guglielmo di Malavalle described a pasta dish (macarrones sen logana) at a dinner where he attended. Since then, there are many clear indications of the manufacture and consumption of pasta, especially in the areas of Naples and Genoa. The Napolitans were making pasta in small laboratories that were called “La Pasteria”, they dried them to a rope in the street and sold them into chorelia, accompanied by songs and dances with mandolins and tarantellas.
In the 15th century, the first recipe for lasagne was written, but until the 17th century,
pasta was not an important part of the diet and consumed only as a luxury meal or even more as dessert.
The pasta was part of the Italian diet in the 17th century, when the introduction of technology in the production of pasta and an increase in the cultivation of durum wheat contributed to the consolidation of pasta as a cheap and easy food for the weaker social societies. Consequently, the importance of pasta for people’s health became even more intense. In 1800, the two capitals of long pasta (both production and exports) were Naples and Genoa. But the transition from fresh pasta to dry pasta (for commercial reasons) and the geopolitical location of Genoa port contributed in spreading the pasta worldwide.
In ancient Greece there was a religious custom to produce sweet pasta for the recently given birth and was felt to give strength to mother and baby. They boiled in milk and sugar and served as soup or as a kind of pudding.
In Greece, a long ago, all households had a big variety of handmade pasta in their
cellars. Some were dry like frumenty, while others were eaten immediately after their
preparation. There were twisted, and the toutoumakia gkontzides which were manufactured in the villages of Sparta. Pasta was popular and relatively inexpensive, thereby minimizing the use of rice. Rice appeared mainly at the Sunday lunches or on holidays, either cooked in beef broth or placed in small forms for decorative purposes or as a poultry or vegetables stuffing.
The technological progress of the production process increased the production and reduced the costs, reasons that have contributed to increased consumption of pasta. Over the years, pasta production is no longer manual and passed to the full automation process production.
Pasta in Greece & Europe
Pasta is one of the most popular foods in almost the entire world and particularly in
Europe. First in the consumption of pasta is Italy, where the average Italian consumes
about 25 kilos of pasta per year, and also countries with high consumption is Japan
(average 8.9 kg per year for the Japanese) and Greece (average 8 kilos a year for the
Greek). The expansion of pasta is due to the remarkable advantages as food, because is stored easily and for relatively long time, is cooked quickly, is easily digestible and finally is accessible in terms of price.
The production of pasta in our country in recent years made great progress. There are 15 contemporary factories of pasta, which not only exceed the needs of the country, but have also important exports. Imports of pasta are just a small area covering only 4% of domestic consumption.