Food for Thought
Italy is a hugely popular destination for travelers. But first-time visitors often commit culinary crimes that make Italians cringe. Here are some simple tips that will help you do as the Romans do:
- Expect to order at least three courses for lunch and dinner. The first course is the antipasto and consists of cold and hot appetizers; the second course, called the primo piatto, is typically pasta or soup; and the final course, the secondo piatto, is usually a meat, fish or vegetable dish.
- Never order cappuccino after breakfast. Italians reserve this frothy coffee concoction for mornings.
- Order water as either natural (flat) or frizzante (carbonated). You will be asked to choose at almost every meal.
- Don’t ask for a spoon to twirl your spaghetti; use your fork.
- Don’t add cheese to any pasta dish that contains fish. The Italians consider this gauche.
- Don’t ask for butter on your bread. And don’t dip your bread in olive oil—it will ruin your palate for what follows.
- Don’t eat bread with your pasta; bread is reserved for the main course (secondo piatto).