The Italian word for 'food' is cibo. Other words you could use to refer to food are alimento (food) or
nutrimento (nourishment), or even da mangiare (to eat) as in Cosa c'è da mangiare? (meaning 'what is there to eat?').
Food plays an important role in the cultural background of all Italians and, even from a young age, it seems that Italian children are more culinarily clued-up than are their counterparts across the world.
For example, it wouldn't be strange if a twelve year-old Italian was particular about the type of dry-cured meat he carried in his lunchbox, or well-versed in the difference between cheese like a Pecorino Romano and a Caciocavallo Silano - whilst most school kids in the UK, for example, would struggle to explain the difference between Cheddar and Dairylea slices.
It is because of this passion and reverence for food that the Italian cuisine, or la cucina Italiana, is one of the most widely recognized and globally available around the world. Dishes like spaghetti alla bolognese or antipasti like bruschetta (pronounced brus-ketta regardless of what the commentator of the TV show Come Dine With Me may think) have become so popular outside Italy that they have almost been absorbed into the local cuisine of many countries.