The Country That Eats The Most Pasta Worldwide Is No Surprise

No surprise here — the country that eats the most pasta worldwide is Italy. You knew that was going to be the case, didn't you? According to Statista, a 2022 survey of pasta consumption showed that Italian citizens ate an average of 23 kilograms of pasta a year. Italy was followed by Tunisia, at 17 kilograms, while Germany scored lower still, at 7.9 kilograms. Honestly, though, does Italy's pasta consumption come as a surprise to anyone? 

Though pasta's beginnings are known to have started in China, Italy is the country that perfected it. Marco Polo may have brought some noodles back with him, but they were hardly the first to appear in Italy. Archeological evidence across central Italy shows that as early as the Etruscan period, (that's pre-Roman Empire) pasta was already well entrenched in the country's culinary culture. Naturally, this tradition continued to flourish onwards, seeing great gains during the Renaissance, and even further gains when industrialization began producing pasta on a truly massive scale.

Today, some of the best pasta brands either come from Italy or have Italian origins. The American brand, Prince, for example, began in the tight corners and alleys of Boston's North End, a historically Italian neighborhood. But don't think for a minute that Italy is consuming that many kilograms of the exact same kind of pasta. While the tradition may be nationwide, the shapes and applications are distinctly regional.

For every region, a pasta

Italy is split up into 20 different administrative regions. Far from being different in terms of governmental boundaries, each region has a unique culinary culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in the pasta. Many of us know the iconic pasta types like spaghetti, linguine, farfalle, penne, and fusilli. As mainstream as these shapes may be to American palates, in Italy, different kinds of pasta are associated with their respective regions.

Without going into deep specific detail about just how many types of pasta there are, we will go into a few of the specific shapes and sauces that define some of Italy's most well-known. Lazio, home of Rome, has the long and hollow bucatini, used for making carbonara and cacio e pepe. Tuscany, home to Florence, has wide and long pappardelle, usually served in a ragu of wild boar. Emilia Romagna, home of Bologna, the tagliatelle ragu alla bolognese. And Puglia, the heel of the boot, has that little ear-shaped pasta called orecchiette.

This is barely scratching the surface of what pasta is like in Italy. No doubt there are shapes and applications many outsiders have yet to discover. So, is it any wonder that they eat more pasta than anyone else in the world? It is simply part of who they are.