Italian food culture is known all over the world and in Italian cuisine, you will find lots of goodies such as mozzarella, olive oil, and parma ham. But Italian cuisine also stands out because you eat, and look at the meal, in a completely different way than you do in the rest of the world. In other words, the fact that it is a little difficult to know how to behave at the restaurant. This is why many tourists appear as “rookies” when eating in Italy.
When in Italy, you should, of course, take the opportunity to eat Italian. It is part of traveling to experience the country’s food culture. In Italy, you rarely have any choices.
Probably there are occasional foreign restaurants in larger cities, but one must probably know the address to have a chance to find such rarities. Italians eat Italian food and these are naturally the best in Italy. Just adjust and order pasta, risotto, or maybe a pizza. The same goes for grocery stores. There is no need to waste energy trying to find non-local ingredients. Instead, buy local and true Italian ingredients and groceries such as pasta and olive oil.
Which order to eat food in Italy
The first thing to understand when ordering at an Italian restaurant is the order of the dishes. You do not have to order all dishes at all (on the contrary – it usually becomes both too much food and too expensive), but the dishes you choose must be eaten in the right order. You can thus make your own combination.
Aperitivo – a small drink, for example, prosecco.
Antipasto – starter. Often something cold cut like cheeses, ham, tomatoes, olives…
Primo Piatto – the first dish. Mostly pasta or risotto, but it can also be soup. The ingredients are often few and the pasta/risotto should be quite “dry”, ie not too saucy.
Secondo Piatto – the other course. Now meat or fish is served, but you only get exactly the meat or fish you ordered. If you want an accessory, you must order Contorni accessories. The accessories can be salad, grilled vegetables, or some kind of potato and eaten on a separate plate. The sauce is almost never served.
Dolce – dessert. So now it’s time for something sweet, and it can be ice cream, panna cotta or some pastry for example.
Coffee After dessert (note – not simultaneously!) You can order a small cup of strong Italian coffee.
Grappa or something else strong can be enjoyed to finish the meal.
In Italy, the pure flavors are celebrated, and every part of the meal must be able to be enjoyed and appreciated for its own taste, without having to mix it with anything else.
You should not spin the spaghetti on a spoon. The spoon is presented at the restaurants for tourists. If you want to look like an expert, you should spin the spaghetti on the plate edge.
Instead of looking for what does not exist, you should, of course, enjoy what is available: fresh, high-quality raw materials. Many Italians shop by local producers and it is easy to find high-quality cheeses and ham, as well as fruits and vegetables with great taste.
In the small villages, you can find small meat shops where all meat comes from local breeders and farmers.