Special Report

25 Foods That Made Places Really Famous

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11. Thousand Island dressing

The Thousand Islands are an archipelago of more than 1,850 islands in the Saint Lawrence River, on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. The dressing that bears the region’s name, a pink condiment with a mayonnaise base and numerous spices and finely chopped ingredients (like pickles, onions, parsley, pimento, and chives), dates from the late 19th or early 20th century. There are numerous stories of its origins.

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12. Cayenne pepper

Medium-hot cayenne peppers are mostly grown to be dried and ground into a spicy powder for cooking. Cayenne may take its name from an indigenous Brazilian word for pepper. It is believed that the city of Cayenne in French Guiana may have been named for the pepper and not the other way around.

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13. Philadelphia Cream Cheese

This soft, spreadable fresh cheese was invented in New York State, not Pennsylvania. It is said to have earned its name because, at the time of its creation in the latter 19th century, Philadelphia was considered to be a particularly wealthy and sophisticated city and the makers of the cream cheese thought that an association with the place would add class to their product.

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14. Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese is named for the city of Parma in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region (also the home of prosciutto di Parma). The original Italian cheese is called parmigiano-reggiano. The cheese sold as simply “Parmesan” in the U.S. and elsewhere today has a textural resemblance to the Italian version, but is considered a poor substitute by food-lovers.

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15. San Marzano tomatoes

San Marzano is the name of a variety of Italian plum tomato, and also the name of the region where it was first developed. San Marzanos are particularly well-suited to canning, and are often considered by Italian chefs and cooks around the world to be the best substitute for fresh tomatoes.