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Must-Have Italian Spices

Learn How You Can Spice Up Your Next Italian Cuisine

Everyone has their own list of must-have Italian spices. In ancient Rome, Italians prepared food without herbs and spices. In De re Coquinaria, a first-century CE cookbook, recipes required a “heavy use of spices and herbs.” Today, Italian food calls for fresh spices to enhance the flavor of the dishes. Do you have a favorite spice to put on your food in Salem, VA? This month, Mamma Maria’s will provide Salem, VA, residents with a list of must-have Italian spices.

Check Out the List of Must-Have Italian Spices for Your Next Cuisine

Historically, Italians use herbs and spices for their health benefits and flavor enhancement. Here is a list of must-have Italian spices and what they add to a culinary experience in Salem, VA:


Italians commonly use parsley in seafood, vegetable sauces, pasta dishes, and soups. Parsley’s health benefits include vitamins A, B, and C, iron, iodine, and magnesium.


Basil brings freshness to any dish and pairs perfectly with cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and lemon. Chefs use this spice in Caprese salad. Basil’s antibacterial properties bring quality health benefits to your Italian cuisine.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves come from a laurel tree. Chefs often add this spicy leaf to soups, sauces, and stews for a well-rounded flavor. Bay leaves can also flavor meat and seafood dishes pickled with vegetables.


Italians use sage in significant quantities for its anti-inflammatory properties and digestion aid. Sage goes well with dishes such as gnocchi, risotto, and roasted meats and soups.


Chefs use rosemary in roasted vegetables or meat preparations. It brings along a symbolic history as a token of friendship and provides several health properties. These include iron, calcium, dietary fiber, and antioxidants.


Following the first World War, oregano became popular in the United States. In its dried form, oregano isn’t as commonly used in Italian cooking as other herbs and spices. Italians often use oregano in Southern Italian and Sicilian dishes. Its health benefits include high amounts of Omega-3s, iron, manganese, and antioxidants.

To learn more about our list of must-have Italian spices, reach out to Mamma Maria’s at (540) 389-2848. Salem, VA, clients can contact us online and like us on Facebook for more tips and tricks about must-have Italian spices.