How Do You Say Napkin In Italian – Food plays a central role in Italian life but there is much more to eating than filling your belly! Italian cuisine has an ancient and diverse heritage that has created incredible regional specialities, an amazing range of delightful recipes and incorporating the best of carefully selected local ingredients.
Not surprisingly, Italians are extremely proud of their food and therefore treat their mealtimes with respect and special etiquette. Meals are never rushed and families often spend several hours slowly working their way through several courses while enjoying their meal together.
How Do You Say Napkin In Italian
This means that knowing the correct dining etiquette while in Italy is essential so that you don’t annoy your waiters, chefs or anger the people you’re dining with. Diner etiquette, or ‘Galateo’ in Italian, can be a bit unusual but it’s a very cool tradition in the country and you’ll find that everyone follows it without a thought in the evening.
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One of the first things you need to learn about the way Italians eat is that they don’t eat early. In most of Europe and America people eat their evening meal around 6 o’clock but in Italy, it is usually eaten at around 8.30pm to 9.30pm and restaurants rarely open their doors before 7pm.
Once you sit down for dinner it can easily last until midnight after which you can take a leisurely stroll through town to take in the scenery and chat in the piazzas.
If you are planning to eat out in a restaurant in the evening it is always worth making a reservation. Italian restaurants are usually busy in the evening, especially in the summer. This is because tourists and locals alike often eat out, so if you don’t book your table you may find yourself walking from restaurant to restaurant looking for a spare seat. It is also considered polite to book your table in advance so that the chef and waiting staff can better prepare for the number of people they have to prepare for that evening.
You should also book a table if you want to eat out at lunchtime as, again, quality restaurants are busy during the day.
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If you are staying in a hotel you can ask the concierge to book you a table at a great local restaurant or give you advice on the best places to eat.
Once you have booked a table try not to be late for your time slot. Up to 20 minutes late is acceptable with most restaurants but it is best to arrive at your booked time.
When ordering food in a restaurant it is always worth asking the waiter about the local specialities. Not only will this make the restaurant staff proud of their region but you will also be helping to support the local economy.
There are many special regional dishes and there is no way to experience the depth of Italian cuisine without trying the unique local recipes that use special ingredients usually produced and sourced within the province.
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When you eat out in Italy the tip, or ‘coperto’ is automatically added to the bill. The coperto includes the bread and table service so in theory you don’t need to leave a tip at the end of your meal.
However, if you enjoyed the meal and were satisfied with the service you should leave a tip of around 10% of the total bill. Whenever possible, it’s best to write down money too! On the other hand, if you’ve just gone into a cafe for a cappuccino you usually don’t need to leave a tip of any kind.
Overall, it is polite and considerate to leave a tip every time you enjoy a meal in a restaurant while in Italy. Of course, you should use your own discretion but as a general rule you should be drinking every time you eat out.
After finishing a delicious pasta or meat dish you might want to use your bread to mop up the leftover sauce! This is called ‘fare la scarpetta’ in Italian and is perfectly acceptable at the family table or in most restaurants.
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In some very fine restaurants it might be a little frowned upon, however, because it’s a sign that you really enjoyed the food that the chefs and waiters will be happy to see ‘fare la scarpetta’!
No matter what you have for dinner you should not order a cappuccino to go with the food! Italian menus are carefully constructed to be perfectly balanced and ordering a cappuccino will ruin the harmony of the courses.
For example, an Italian menu will start with an ‘antipasto’, or starter, which follows the first course, or a ‘primo’ which usually includes rice or pasta. This is followed by meat or fish, or ‘secondo’ which is served with a side dish, or ‘contorno’, salad, pickled vegetables or potatoes. Finally, you will have desert, or ‘dolce’, and coffee with digestifs.
An Italian meal can be seen as an orchestra with each dish and ingredient playing its own role in the whole symphony. So interrupting the flow of the meal with a cappuccino, can of coke or anything other than water or carefully selected wine is like playing rock and roll music at a symphony orchestra concert!
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Not only will you offend the waiters and chefs if you start ordering cappuccinos or cokes during your meal but you will also spoil your own experience of the food. So never order a cappuccino while dining in a restaurant.
As a general rule, you should not order tap water when eating out in Italy. While it is true to say that the tap water in Italy is perfectly safe to drink, chefs and waiters consider it less clean tasting than bottled spring water. As such, tap water is thought to ruin the taste of your meal so it is best to order sparkling or natural bottled water when eating out.
Many foreigners will love parmigiana over all their Italian food but if you try this while eating out the waiter may look at you in horror! Grated cheese is usually added to risotto or pasta dishes although this depends a lot on the sauce.
However, you should not grate cheese on any dishes containing seafood or fish. This also applies to salads and pizzas. If you’re not sure whether you should grate cheese on a dish, you can ask the waiter for advice – they’ll be more than happy to help. Alternatively, you can just play it by ear and accept it unless you’re offered grated cheese as a dish it’s not supposed to be used.
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When eating spaghetti you should never use a spoon! This may take a little practice but you should really learn how to flatten the spaghetti with your fork and then use the side of the plate to level it before you eat it in one mouthful.
Waiters and others will always make an exception to this rule for children but as an adult it is definitely something to avoid.
Salad dressings are rarely used in Italian restaurants because the chef will have determined the perfect balance of flavors for the dish and won’t expect the customers to interfere! Instead you can use olive oil and balsamic vinegar to enhance salad flavors instead.
For example, even if you try to buy salad dressing in a supermarket you will get funny looks from the staff and you will be directed to a shelf in the corner of the shop with other exotic food items.
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However, although this may sound a little strange, once you taste authentic Italian olive oils and vinegars you will quickly realize that you don’t need an extra ‘French’ or ‘Farm’ salad dressing to complement the taste .
As well as Italians’ low opinion of salad dressings, condiments are never used in any restaurant setting. Although allowances are made for foreign customers it is not something a local would ever do when eating in a restaurant. This includes any of the traditional condiments used in large quantities in most of the West.
This means that you should not ask for ketchup, mayonnaise or hot barbecue sauce to add to your dish in a restaurant as this will surely offend the chef! Don’t forget that many of the ingredients in your dish will be carefully selected and sourced from local producers so a chef could be upset if you start covering the food in pre-made sauces from a bottle! In Italy, condiments should only enhance the flavors of a dish and not spoil them. So if you want to add anything to your food it should be olive oil!
Although Italian etiquette and eating habits may seem trivial, these strict rules, things like condiments and coffee, are just a reflection of the Italians’ respect for their food.
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