There isn’t much of a language barrier in the UK for an American visitor, but this word baffled me in a few restaurants before stumbling upon this farmers market. Ahh, zucchini.
Zucchini, like all summer squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. However, the varieties of squash typically called “zucchini” were indeed developed in Italy, many generations after their introduction from the “New World”.
In all probability, this occurred in the very late 19th century, probably near Milan; early varieties usually included the names of nearby cities in their names. The alternate name courgette is from the French word for the vegetable, with the same spelling, and is commonly used in France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It is a diminutive of courge, French for squash. “Zucca” is the Italian word for squash and “zucchina” is its diminutive, becoming “zucchine” in the plural. However, “zucchino”, the masculine form, becoming “zucchini” in the plural, is just as commonly used and is prevalent in Tuscany. Italian dictionaries such as “lo Zingarelli 1995, Zanichelli editor”, give both forms. “Zucchini” is used in Italy , and in Australia, Canada and the United States. ‘Zucchini’ is plural in Italian whereas in English it is singular. The first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s. It was almost certainly brought over by Italian immigrants and probably was first cultivated in the United States in California.