Food and wine is HUGE in Italy and France. Each region has both food and wine that has developed over time based on location, types of soil and weather conditions.
For instance, Puglia is known for its pasta which is made from the hardest of wheats called durham (latin for hard) wheat is high in protein and low in gluten. Low levels of gluten in the wheat make it unsuitable for bread, which needs high gluten content in order to rise. The most popular pasta shape in Puglia is or orecchiette which means little ears. They are still made by hand in many places.
Different shapes of pasta are supposed to be better for some types of sauces than others. Here is a chart of some pasta shapes.