italy pasta Working in global trade, we are exposed to diverse cultures, and as such, we learn many interesting things.  We’ve decided to collect some of the more obscure and idiosyncratic facts, traditions and customs, and share them here, in what we’re calling:  International Fun Facts – or IFF for short.  Hope you enjoy this first batch!

  1. Tomatoes weren’t in Europe until after the discovery of the Americas! That means there were no traditional pizzas and spaghetti with red sauce (marinara). Cooking with tomatoes was not a part of the Italian cuisine until the 1700’s and did not become popular until the 1800’s. Before that, Italy primarily used cream sauces with their pasta.
  2. In Korea, when a name is written in red it indicates that the person is deceased. My advice: Leave your red pens at home when traveling to Korea.
  3. In Venice, Italy a law states that all gondolas must be painted black unless they belong to a high ranking official.
  4. The flag of the Philippines is the only national flag that is flown differently to distinguish between times of peace and war. One section of the flag is blue, and the other is red. The blue portion is flown on top in time of peace and the red portion is flown on top in times of war.
  5. During WWII, U.S. military personnel spread the popularity of chewing gum by trading it and giving it as gifts to people in Europe, Africa, Asia and around the world (International Chewing Gum Association).

If you have any international fun facts, we would love to hear from you.  Please, share them with us below.

More IFF coming soon!

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