3 Things You Should Know When Dining in Italy

Coming back from Italy, I thought I would share a few things to keep in mind with dining at a trattoria to spare you some of the embarrassment I’ve been through:

1) It’s a four course meal.

Italian meal

A good thing to keep in mind when ordering is that, in Italy, meals are generally articulated around four different dishes:  Antipasti (appetizers), Primi piatti (first dish), Secondi piatti (second dish), Dolci (dessert). Unless you’ve climbed the Etna earlier that day, I suggest ordering a Primi piatti as a main course, that way you have room for desert.

2) Don’t ask for a spoon.

Don't use a fork

I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating: don’t ask for a spoon to eat your spaghetti. At best you’ll look like an uneducated tourist, at worst you’ll offend the waiter, the chef and the other clients.

3) Have a Limoncello.

Limoncello

It might feel rude for Americans to stay at the restaurant table after the meal is over but in Italy, it’s part of the tradition. Especially if you’re eating at a family-owned trattoria, make sure to ask the owner for a liquor after dinner. My favorite is a lemon one called limoncello. And why not invite the owner to sit down why you and chat?…in Italian of course!

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