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Eat Like an Italian

Italian Cafe in Calgary

Eat Like an Italian

Food is a significant part of any country’s culture, and every country has its own set of rules, beliefs, and norms when it comes to its dining scene – Italy is no different.

Of course, in Italy, food is more than just for satisfying one’s cravings or hunger. It’s also deeply embedded in their culture and history, bringing entire communities together and even bridging cross-cultural differences.

Eat Like an Italian

That’s why if you were ever to eat at an Italian café or restaurant, you would need to learn how to eat like an Italian and apply Galateo as you do.

So, how exactly do you eat like an Italian? Let’s find out.

Eat Light at Breakfast

While starting the day with a heavy and savoury meal is typical in other countries, that’s not the case in Italy. Italians prefer to eat light at breakfast, opting for a cappuccino and a slightly sweet pastry like a cornetto to start the day.

La colazione or breakfast in Italy usually starts around 7 AM and ends at 10:30 AM. You can choose to have it at home or at a local bar where most Italians enjoy their breakfast while standing.

Cappucino is for the Morning!

Coffee is undeniably an integral part of Italy’s culture. One of the steadfast rules of Italian coffee culture is that you should only drink a cappuccino or any milk-based coffee in the morning.

Italians consider milk-based coffee a morning beverage because not many Italians drink milk – at least not alone. They believe it’s too heavy for after meals and the afternoon, which is why you might get surprised looks if you order it in the afternoon or with a meal.

If they need a caffeine boost later in the day, they go for an espresso instead. However, in Italy, it’s just caffè or coffee.

Eat Bread with Your Main Course

It’s not unusual in other countries for the restaurant to serve a plate of bread while you wait for the main course during lunch or dinner. However, if you genuinely want to eat like an Italian, you should follow Italian etiquette and wait.

In Italy, bread isn’t an appetizer; it’s a utensil that you use to mop every last bit of food on your plate. This is called fare la scarpetta, and it shows that you thoroughly appreciated the food you were served and wanted to ensure you got every last piece.

Of course, this also means that you shouldn’t butter your bread, as doing so defeats the purpose of the ritual.

Water or Wine for Meals

Certain beverages complement different cuisines well, and it’s not unusual to find different types of drinks at the dinner table in other countries. However, in Italy, you should only drink water or wine when dining in a restaurant.

This is because they believe that sugary drinks like soda or juice will mess with your palate, preventing you from enjoying your meal to its fullest.

Of course, they also have specific rules for what wine goes with what dish and what kind of water you can drink.

Don’t Cut Your Pasta

Pasta is almost synonymous with Italian cuisine, and Italians take the way they eat pasta very seriously. This means you should only twist the pasta around your fork and eat it as is.

Italians never cut or break their pasta – before or after they cook it – because the length is supposed to wrap around the fork. So, aside from small children, one should never cut their pasta.

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Of course, there are more customs in Italian dining etiquette, but these are just some of the most common ones you should know if you want to eat like an Italian.

Food is a significant aspect of Italian culture, which is why it’s best to learn and understand their customs, beliefs, and rules when it comes to dining. This is true for any Italian dining establishment, whether it’s an authentic ristorante in Italy or an Italian café in Calgary.

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