Italian food culture is not just about what we see on Italian tables or in the rich menu of an Italian restaurant.
Italians have a series of beliefs that go beyond education or tradition.
A simple example is pasta shapes and their seasonings. Taking into account that with dry pasta (those that you usually buy in paper or plastic bags that last a long time) the difference is only its shape, nothing more, the shape itself is something very important for Italians.
There is a traditional pasta sauce recipe from the Rome region called Pasta all amatriciana (it’s a savory sauce made with tomatoes and bacon). It is usually served with bucatini pasta (a kind of huge spaghetti with a hole in the middle). An Italian woman was upset when she learned about her haircut from her colleague who preferred it with short pasta. She said: “Don’t ask me why. It is like that. Amatriciana has to go with long pasta. How do you imagine cooking it with short pasta?” The same goes for pasta with oil and garlic (Aglio e olio), you will probably never see it served with any pasta other than spaghetti.
Many people around the world drink coffee and milk. In Italy, people drink cappuccino, coffee and milk with the addition of milk foam.
All over the world, people drink coffee and milk whenever they feel like it. Italians will never order a cappuccino at night! Why? It is what it is. It’s not time for a cappuccino. Cappuccino is for breakfast!
Italians do not accept someone who asks for a cappuccino after or worse with dinner. They really shut their noses when they see someone do it.
Bars are everywhere in Italy. There are many small towns with about 1,500 inhabitants that have about 20 bars. When an Italian meets a friend, it is normal to “have a drink together”.
If you happen to serve a drink to someone sitting next to you, never turn the jar or bottle against the natural shape of your hand. For example, if you have the pot in your right hand, the glass should be to the left, never behind, on the right side of your right hand. Otherwise, it may not bring luck.
In many countries it is customary to eat a salad as a main dish.
Italians eat pizza neutral bay as a side dish for the second course. Now in the big cities you can find a number of tourist restaurants that offer delicious salads for tourists… but the Italians never order them!
Italians respect lunchtime. If you come to Italy and want to have lunch, pay attention to the closing times of the restaurants. Usually after 2:30 p.m. m., the kitchens are closed and you have to eat a sandwich. If an Italian travels outside of Italy, they will probably look for a restaurant during lunch. If you can’t or can’t find one, and you find one at 3:00 p.m. m., he will probably say that he is no longer hungry, that he is eating right now, or he will lose his hunger.
Italian restaurant sydney trust their food. While most tourists look for local food as it is part of the vacation, it is very common to see Italians looking for Italian restaurants abroad. They seem to be afraid of new and different foods.
They begin to open up to new foods as they leave Italy more often and learn to appreciate and trust foreign cuisines.
Besides trusting and loving their own food, Italians hate it when people try to mix other food cultures with Italian ones. An example? Never add ketchup to a pasta dish! You can’t imagine how your Italian friend will look at you if you try.
What’s interesting about all of this is that they don’t do it because they’re pushy, they really think you’re wasting the taste.