Arborio rice that has been sautã©ed and cooked in a shallow pan with stock. the result is a very creamy and hearty dish. meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and cheeses are almost always added depending on the recipe and the locale. many restaurants, families, towns, and regions will have a signature risotto or at least style of risotto, in addition or in place of a signature pasta dish risotto alla milanese is a famous italian classic. risotto is a typical dish in lombardy and piedmont.
This is the italian word for ice cream. the non-fruit flavors are usually made only with milk. gelato made with water and without dairy ingredients is also known as sorbetto. it's fresh as a sorbet, but tastier. there are many flavors, including coffee, chocolate, fruit, and tiramisã¹. when buying at a gelateria, you have the choice of having it served in a wafer cone or a tub; in northen italy you'll pay for every single flavour "ball", and the panna the milk cream counts as a flavour; in rome you can buy a small wafer cone around 1,80â¬ a medium one 2,50 â¬ or a large one 3,00â¬ without limit of flavours, and the panna is free.
Italian food inside of Italy is different than what they call "Italian food" in America. It is truly one of the most diverse in the world, and in any region, or even city and village you go, there are different specialities. For instance, it could be only misleading to say that Northern Italian cuisine is based on hearty, potato and rice-rich meals, Central Italian cuisine is mainly on pastas, roasts and meat, and Southern Italian cuisine on vegetables, pizza, pasta and seafood: there are so many cross-influences that you'd only get confused trying to categorize. And in any case, Italian cuisine, contrary to popular belief, is not just based on pasta and tomato sauce - that's only a tiny snippet of the nation's food, as in some parts of Northern Italy, pasta isn't even used at all, and rice, potatoes, lentils, soups and similar meals are very common in some parts of the country. Italian food is based upon so many ingredients and Italians often have very discriminating tastes that may seem strange to Americans and other visitors.
For instance, a sandwich stand might sell 4 different types of ham sandwiches that in each case contain ham, mayonnaise, and cheese. The only thing that may be different between the sandwiches is the type of ham or cheese used in them. Rustichella and panzerotti are two examples of sandwiches well-liked by Italians and tourists alike. Also, Italian sandwiches are quite different from the traditional Italian-American âheroâ, âsubmarineâ, or âhoagieâ sandwich which by the way mean nothing to any Italian. Rather than large sandwiches with a piling of meat, vegetables, and cheese, sandwiches in Italy are often quite small, very flat made even more so when they are quickly heated and pressed on a panini grill, and contain a few simple ingredients with rarely, if ever, lettuce or mayonnaise.The term panini may be somewhat confusing to travellers from Northern Europe where it has erroneously come to mean a flat, heated sandwich on a grill. In Italy the term is equivalent to "bread rolls" plural which can be simple rolls or sometimes with basic filling. However instead of a sandwich why not try piadinas which are a flat folded bread with filling, which are served warm and are typical of the coast of Emilia-Romagna.
Americans will notice that Italian pasta is usually available with a myriad of sauces rather than simply tomato and Alfredo (http://www.alfredos.com/r...). Also, Italian pasta is often served with much less sauce than in America. This is, in part, because pasta in a restaurant is usually regarded as the first course of a three- or four-course meal, not a meal in itself.
Structure of a traditional meal: Usually Italian meals for working days are: small breakfast, one-dish lunch, one-dish dinner. Coffee is welcomed at nearly every hour, especially around 10:00 and at the end of a meal. At the weekends and in restaurants for other occasions, a meal typically consists of: antipasto appetizers: marinated vegetables, mixed coldcuts, seafood, etc, primo pasta or rice dish, secondo meat or fish course often with a side-dish known as contorno, and dolce dessert.
Like the language and culture, food in Italy differs region by region. Pasta and olive oil are considered the characteristics of southern Italian food, while northern food focuses on rice and butteralthough today there are many, many exceptions. Local ingredients are also very important. In warm Naples, citrus and other fresh fruit play a prominent role in both food and liquor, while in Venice fish is obviously an important traditional ingredient. As a guideline, in the south cuisine is focused on pasta and dessert, while at north meat is king, but this rule can be very different depending on where you are.
A note about breakfast in Italy: This is very light, often just a cappuccino or coffee with a pastry cappuccino e brioche or a piece of bread and fruit jam. Unless you know for certain otherwise, you should not expect a large breakfast. It is not customary in Italy to eat eggs and bacon or that sort of foods at breakfast - just the thought of it is revolting to most Italians. In fact, no salty foods are consumed at breakfast, generally speaking. Additionaly, cappuccino is a breakfast drink; ordering one after lunch or dinner is considered somewhat strange and considered a typical "tourist thing". A small espresso coffee is considered much more appropriate for digestion.
Another enjoyable Italian breakfast item is cornetto pl. cornetti: a croissant or light pastry often filled with jam, cream or chocolate.
Lunch is seen as the most important part of the day, so much that Italians have one hour reserved for eating and in the past, another hour was reserved for napping. All shops close down and resume after the two hour break period. To compensate for this, businesses stay open later than in most other European towns, often until 8 pm. Good luck trying to find a place open during the so-called "pausa pranzo" lunch break, when visiting a smalltown, but this is not the case in the city centers of the biggest cities or in shopping malls.
Dinner i.e. the evening meal is generally taken late. In the summer, if you are in a restaurant before 8pm you are likely to be eating on your own, and it is quite normal to see families with young children still dining after 10pm.
In Italy cuisine is considered a kind of art. Great chefs as Gualtiero Marchesi or Gianfranco Vissani are seen as half-way between TV stars and magicians. Italians are extremely proud of their culinary tradition and generally love food and talking about it. However, they are not so fond of common preconceptions, such as that Italian food is only pizza and spaghetti. They also have a distaste for "bastardized" versions of their dishes that are popular elsewhere, and many Italians have a hard time believing that the average foreigner can't get even a basic pasta dish "right".
A note about service: do not expect the kind of dedicated, focused service you will find in American restaurants. In Italy this is considered somewhat annoying and people generally prefer to be left alone when consuming their meal. You should expect the waiter to come and check on you after your first course, maybe to order something as second course.
You should consider that Italy's most famous dishes like pizza or spaghetti are quite lame for Italians, and eating in different areas can be an interesting opportunity to taste some less well known local specialty. Even for something as simple as pizza there are significant regional variations. That of Naples has a thick, soft crust while that of Rome is considerably thinner and crustier.
When dining out with Italians read the menu and remember that almost every restaurant has a typical dish and some towns have centuries-old traditions that you are invited to learn. People will be most happy when you ask for local specialties and will gladly advise you.
In Northern Italy at around 17:00 most bars will prepare for an aperitivo especially in cosmopolitan Milan, with a series of plates of nibbles, cheese, olives, meat, bruschetta and much more... This is NOT considered a meal and should you indulge yourself in eating as if it was dinner, you would most likely not be very much appreciated. All this food is typically free to anyone who purchases a drink but it is intended to be a premeal snack.
restaurants and bars
Italian bars in the center of major cities charge more typically double whatever the final bill is if you drink or eat seated at a table outside rather than standing at the bar or taking your order to go. This is because bars are charged a very high tax to place tables and chair outside, so since most people do not use tables anyway, they had decided long ago to only charge those who do. The further away you are from the center streets, the less this rule is applied. When calling into a bar for a coffee or other drink you first go to the cash register and pay for what you want. You then give the receipt to the barman, who will serve you.
Restaurants always used to charge a small coperto cover charge. Some years ago attempts were made to outlaw the practice, with limited success. The rule now seems to be that if you have bread a coperto can be charged but if you specifically say that you don't want bread then no coperto can be levied. This has happened mainly because of backpackers who sat at a table, occupied it for an hour by just ordering a drink or a salad and consuming enormous amounts of bread.
Some restaurants now levy a service charge, but this is far from common. In Italian restaurants a large tip is never expected. The customary 15% of the United States may cause an Italian waiter to drop dead with a heart attack. Just leave a Euro or two and they will be more than happy.
The traditional meal can include in order antipasto starter of cold seafood, gratinated vegetables or ham and salami, primo first dish - pasta or rice dishes, secondo second dish - meat or fish dishes, served together with contorno mostly vegetables, cheeses/fruit, dessert, coffee, and spirits. Upmarket restaurants usually refuse to make changes to proposed dishes exceptions warmly granted for babies or people on special diets. Mid-range restaurants are usually more accommodating. For example, a simple pasta with tomato sauce may not be on the menu but a restaurant will nearly always be willing to cook one for kids who turn their noses up at everything else on the menu.
If you are in a large group say four or more then it is appreciated if you don't all order a totally different pasta. While the sauces are pre-cooked the pasta is cooked fresh and it is difficult for the restaurant if one person wants spaghetti, another fettuccine, a third rigatoni, a fourth penne and a fifth farfalle butterfly shaped pasta. If you attempt such an order you will invariably be told that you will have a long wait!
When pizza is ordered, it is served as a primo even if formally it is not considered as such, together with other primi. If you order a pasta or pizza and your friend has a steak you will get your pasta dish, and probably when you've finished eating the steak will arrive. If you want primo and secondo dishes to be brought at the same time you have to ask.
Restaurants which propose diet food, very few, usually write it clearly in menus and even outside; others usually don't have any dietetic resources.
A Gastronomia is a kind of self-service restaurant normally you tell the staff what you want rather than serving yourself that also offers take-aways. This can give a good opportunity to sample traditional Italian dishes at fairly low cost. Note that these are not buffet restaurants. You pay according to what you order.