Q&A the Italy Food Culture:

"Your (RomanLife) pages on Rome restaurants and the Italy food culture
saved me from many embarrassing situations in Italy!"

Rod asks: Why is food so important in the Italian culture? Would you say the Italian diet is healthy?
What are some Italy food culture traditions and customs?

A lot of questions but perhaps someone can explain the Italy food culture...

Italy food culture: Kitchen in Tuscany Italy.
italy food culture customs traditions

Roberta replied to Italy food culture:

I am italian, and it has to do with the family element. In Italy food brings the whole family together, everyone shares a similar love of the food, and people are most personal when they are sharing a meal with one another. I remember many holidays with our large family centered around lots and lots of food.

Also Italians are very sensual people and they use food to satisfy and express themselves. The Italian diet is definitely healthy: garlic and some olive oil is great for the body. Plus yes we cook with a lot of vegetables, grains, good meat, etc etc. But eat in smaller portions - outside of festivals, that is.

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Scott replied to Italy food culture:

We lika to mangia, mangia bene!!

But seriously food is important to all countries (except here in the USA). We love our junk food (which isn't really food or culture).
When you mention Italy then food is always the first thing that comes to mind and maybe clothes.
I think the Italy food culture is mostly a perception of ours, I believe other countries are just as passionate about their food - China, India, France etc. but it just happens that Italian food is the favorite cuisine of most people and nothing to do with the importance of Italy's way of thinking about food.
All the European countries think the same way about their food as the Italians, French (and whoever) think about theirs.

Here are some traditional Italian foods for you:
Lentils and Cotechino on New Years day for good luck.
Confetti (almonds coated with candy) for weddings.
Panettone for X-mas
Colomba Cake for Easter.
Pasta con Sarde( Sicily) for good luck on St.Josephs day.
Pizza Rustica( Easter and Christmas)

Traditional dishes exist in other countries too but again, it's just that Italian food is the most popular and more food products are imported from Italy than most other countries. Plus Italians have many more traditions - just an excuse to get grandma to cook more things, and she always falls for it :-)

Oh and Definitely! very healthy. Olive oil, fresh vegetables from the market, lots of fruit, lean meat, fish, wine and pasta. The Italy food culture is one of the best and healthiest cuisines in the world.

Pietro replied to Italy food culture:

Most italians eat fresh food from the markets, so that is obviously healthier than always to eat the pre-packed food. Italians use garlic and olive oil which is super good for you. We eat a lot of bread and pasta, this is lots of carbohidrati but considering our lifestyle which is less stressful, and we usually walk everywhere. Ciao

Everyone was really helpful and encouraging, and more so as I learned more and more Italian. Have fun!

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Janet replied to Italy food culture:

Here are some tips about the Italy food culture and dining with Italian:

  • Nobody eats until everyone is seated, unless the person who is serving insists.

  • Salad is usually eaten last

  • There will 99% of the time be two or more courses: pasta and a meat or fish dish and vegetables, followed by breads, cold meats and fruits.

  • Different courses are always served on clean crockery. Italians, unlike Americans, English, Australians etc. don't put different courses all together on the same dish.

  • There is usually a fruit and or a cheese at the end of a meal

  • You don't drink milk with your meal, unless you are a child.

  • There is almost always red wine at the lunch/dinner table.

  • No grated cheese on a pasta dish with sea food!

  • Fork is in the left hand, knife in right and you don't switch after cutting something.

  • You don't hold the fork like a baseball bat.

  • Television is off when eating

  • No bread is eaten with the pasta, and if you absolutely have to clean your plate with bread then break off a piece of bread and stab it with your fork and use the fork to wipe the plate.

  • And break off pieces of bread by hand and put them in your mouth, don't bring the whole piece to your mouth to bite off a piece.

Marcus from Roman Life Rome Italy replied to Italy food culture:

Continuing from Janet's post above. It's funny but in Rome a lot of people practice “fare la scarpetta” which means to mop up the sauce from your plate with a piece of bread, it's a massive compliment to pay to the home cook and if you have the right personality you can get away with it!

Although, this practice might best be avoided in some Rome restaurants, ahem, but you can surely sneak a quick "scarpetta" in at some trattorias. I have, much to my wife's expressions of disbelief.via veneto smiley

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Maria replied to Italy food culture:

Some Italian food traditions:

On the 24th December Christmas Eve we have the 7 fish for dinner. We make sauce chopping garlic basil and parsley by hand. Everybody in our family gets together for the holidays and where there's homemade sauce, there's also bread to dip. Yummy..

On New Year's Eve people eat lentils to attract money for the upcoming year and apparently the more you eat, the more money you will earn!

Panna Cotta is a custard dessert served in wineglasses and with fruit on top. You can also make cannoli - the horns filled with cream - drool!

Gesuina replied to Italy food culture:

Hallo, I'm italian and I hope I can help you.
It's important to remember that it does not exist "italian dessert" but exists "regional dessert" because every region (italy have 20 regions) and every city have his typical cuisine.
Cannoli are from Sicily
Strudel di mele (apple strudel) is from Trentino
Panettone is Milan
From Napoli comes "pastiera, babà, strufoli, sfogliatella"
Pandolce from Genova
Siena has "panforte"
From Mantova "sbrisolona"
Siracusa "cannoli, cassata"or it.

Here is something from Sicily - It's bread pudding;

For Sauce:
half cup cream
half cup full milk
3 tablespoons of sugar
Quarter cup amaretto liqueur
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
For Bread Pudding:
1 pound (half kilo) loaf panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
8 large eggs
One and a half cups whipping cream
Two and half cups full milk
One and quarter cups sugar

For sauce: Boil the cream, milk, and sugar in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stir frequently. Mix the amaretto and cornstarch to blend in a small bowl and then whisk into the cream mixture. Simmer this over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens and stir for about 2 minutes. Put this aside and keep warm. (The amaretto sauce can be made for 3 days ahead. Cover the sauce and put in fridge. Re heat before serving.)
For to make the bread pudding: Lightly butter a large baking dish. Put the bread cubes in the dish. Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar in a large bowl. Pour the custard over the bread. Stand for 30 minutes, while at times pushing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. (This part can be prepared 2 hours ahead, and refrigerate.)

Heat the oven to 180° C or 350° F.

Bake this for 45 minutes until the pudding puffs and is set in the center. Cool slightly the serve the bread pudding into bowls and pour over some of the warm amaretto sauce.

Marcus from Roman Life Rome Italy says: Finished with the Italy food culture section? For more about Italian culture and fun visit my pages on Italian culture customs and the Italy food culture and romantic italian love phrases.

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italy food culture


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