Italian Couscous: where does couscous originate?

Cous cous or couscous: the history of this food that is enjoying success in Italy.

The couscous consists of durum wheat semolina worked with water which, together, creates grains ready to be steamed. This dish is an authentic specialty that has become synonymous with Arab cuisine: its origin is linked to the history of the traditions of the countries of North Africa, especially in the Maghreb.

Couscous is linked to ancient rites: in the original countries, the food was served on the tables only in the evening and had to be consumed by diners around a single plate with the only use of the hands.

This delicious ethnic food also inspired a legend dating back to 950 BC: it is said that King Solomon, to alleviate the pains of love caused by the Queen of Sheba, was advised to consume large quantities of couscous. From the legend, couscous has become a true family sharing ritual.

In which countries is couscous most consumed today?

Today there are countless regional and local versions of the dish, which show multiple variations of tradition. Traditional couscous preparation is always done in steam, above a special saucepan that contains a stew or meat broth with various vegetables. Raisins, chickpeas and the inevitable spices are added as desired.

Certainly, couscous is a dish widely appreciated throughout the Maghreb area, therefore in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. But also in Egypt, Libya, the Near East (Israel), Yemen up to Senegal and the Ivory Coast. It is largely widespread in West Africa, while in Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine it is called maftūl.

In Europe, it seems to have made its appearance thanks to Arab merchants around the early 1700s, and now it is mainly consumed in France and Belgium.

Martino couscous is an ethnic dish that boasts a strong Italian tradition

Through an incredible journey, couscous has also arrived in Italy, contaminated by the impact of local taste. For centuries, in fact, it has belonged to the culinary gastronomy of Sicily. The best known is the Trapani preparation, called in the local dialect cùscusu: couscous is steamed in a special enameled clay pot, with fish broth.

A curiosity: couscous has become so integrated into the local gastronomic tradition that it has become the protagonist of a real party that is celebrated every year in San Vito lo Capo, in the province of Trapani. Every year the “Cous Cous Fest” takes place, an event that brings together international chefs and fans of this food for greater cultural integration.

Martino is one of the first Italian couscous producers

Martino couscous has a long tradition behind it, handed down from generation to generation. The company was founded in 1904 by the wish of Andrea Martino, an expert in milling art. Following the needs of a constantly changing market, SIPA INTERNATIONAL, today leader in the sector, became the first couscous producer in Italy in 1994. Thanks to the excellent quality of the raw materials and particular attention to providing the customer with an extremely healthy product and genuine, the company has conquered the market and the palates of its consumers!

Today, Martino specializes in both classic and less conventional productions. From the happy couscous line suitable for those who do not have time to cook for organic couscous and alternative raw materials such as rice, corn, and chickpeas: Martino couscous is a guarantee of quality and is all made in Italy.

Couscous is one of the healthiest foods made with an ancient process that originated in the Mediterranean region and has been an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine for thousands of years. Now as a part of Italian cuisine as well couscous is a healthy alternative to many ingredients, it is light with a mild flavor and so versatile. There are thousands of recipes you can cook with couscous, and that is why the grain has become one of Italians’ favorite ingredients for homemade dishes.

Martino brings you and each family a 100% Italian couscous made with the best process, the healthiest grains and the cleanest water all found in the Italian countryside. We are proud of the history of couscous but also of the history of Martino. A company that brings to the tables of each family a healthy and delicious grain all made in Italy!