I came across this little widget that allows you to run simple polls and questionnaires on your website or blog.

And in a moment of idle curiosity, I thought it’d be fun to run a poll to see what everyone’s favourite Italian food was.

Lasagna ? Pizza ? Spaghetti Bolognese ? Parma Ham ? Risotto ? Easy !

“Hold on a minute,” said Pauline. “What about Spaghetti Carbonbara ? All those lovely salami and cheeses ? Minestrone ? Canneloni ? Osso Bucco ? Chicken Cacciatore ? Aubergines and Artichokes ? Tisamisu ? What about ice cream for heaven’s sake !”

“Good point,” I replied quickly as she paused for breath.

We eventually ended -up with a ‘What’s Your Favourite Italian Food ?’ poll with about thirty-odd choices. Which was a little…unwieldy.

So, to coin a cooking metaphor, the idea went onto the back burner and instead, I posted the topic onto the LinkedIn professional networking site.

Two weeks later, the pattern of answers is clear. Everyone in the world – well, OK, everyone who subscribes to LinkedIn – loves Italian food: everyone has a special favourite.

And they’re pretty well all different.

Pasta in all its many guises: Carbonara; Alla Vongole; Pesto; Puttanesca; Arrabiata. Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Crostini. Beef braised in Barolo. Bruschetta. Polenta (Polenta ?). Fritto Misto. Gnocchi. Carpaccio. Bressaola.

And Pizza. Lots and lots of different types of pizza. From Quattro Formaggi to Calzone.

And that’s just a…er…taste.

What all this entirely unscientific research points to is that the mere mention of a favourite Italian food brings a smile to the face in a way that few – any ? – national cuisines can match.

You just can’t imagine anyone coming over misty-eyed at the mention of Coq au Vin or Crepes Suzettes; or Paella; or Frankfurters and Sauerkraut.

When it comes to the ultimate comfort food Italian food seems to be in a class of its own.

What’s your favourite ?