On a number of occasions while I was abroad, I’ve seen some restaurants serving ‘Italian dishes’ on their menus, but they actually had little in common with Made in Italy! Even foreigners often have wrong beliefs and habits, that’s why I decided to write down this list and dispel a few myths about our cooking!
1. No cappuccino after breakfast
Foreigners sip cappuccino while eating spaghetti…in their view actually, Italians normally drink cappuccino before, during and after main meals. This is a very popular belief, but reality is that you have cappuccino only at breakfast! You can order it in a bar till mid-morning when you wake up late during holidays or at the most during winter time as a snack. By the way, milk is a drink for breakfast!
2. Pasta and rice are not side dishes
People abroad usually order pasta with side salade. It’s a common mistake I’ve found in many countries I’ve been to, but in fact, courses are really very distinct according to the Italian cooking. Pasta is a first course and salade a side dish. Also for rice quite a lot of mistakes are made. Have you ever been served a starter or a side dish with rice? Well, this wouldn’t have happened in Italy!
3. Don’t use ketchup on your pasta
Even if ketchup is related to tomato sauce, adding it to your pasta is a real culinary violation in Italy. It is used with chips or with sandwiches and hot dogs. The real unique ‘pasta al pomodoro’ is with fresh tomatoes and basil, the most perfect and simple combination of natural products.
4. Wine is not water
It has surely happened yourself once to order a bottle of white wine abroad. When you notice that it is probably too hot…what does it happen? The waiter brings you a glass with ice, as if wine was a soda or a cocktail. In Italy wine is a high-quality product to be served at the right temperature and accompanied to specific types of food.
5. Don’t roll your spaghetti on the spoon!
Spaghetti in Italy are eaten simply with the fork, try it yourself!
6. Don’t add any dressing to pasta water
Lots of foreign restaurants don’t even know how to cook pasta and frequently use precooked versions. It often happens that it is overcooked or seasoned directly in its cooking water. Seasoning instead has to be added after pasta has been drained, regularly ‘al dente’ (firm)!
7. Pizza? The simpler the better for Italian cooking
Foreigners believe that people in Italy really eat pizza with meatballs, chicken or with slices of pineapple all over. Pizza is pizza for Italians, with few simple and fresh ingredients, according with the unique Pizza Napoletana. The ‘Pepperoni’, which is a pizza with salami is very popular abroad. What about Italy? Well, it doesn’t exist, unless we talk about pizza with peppers. No doubt there’s a great mess on these ‘false Italian’ dishes.
8. Pasta with chicken…not in Italy!
Because of my job, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many foreigners and I realised that one of the most well known and appreciated recipes is pasta with chicken, usually saisoned with cream sauce, parmesan, boiled or grilled chicken, pepper and sometimes even peas. It is served as an Italian specialty, but trust me, we rather prefer eating other things than that!
9. Fettuccine Alfredo are popular only Abroad
‘Fettuccine Alfredo’ is one of the most appreciated ‘Italian’ dish in the US, however it is little known in Italy. It consists on fresh egg noodles with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano. Another version of the typical Roman recipe ‘cacio-e-pepe’ but without pepper and cacio cheese.
10. Carbonara and Spaghetti Bolognese?
Even spaghetti with meatballs are truly widespread abroad. However, Italian cooking leaves no room for this combination, as well as for some recipes of Spaghetti Bolognese often served with tons of parsley or some versions of Carbonara, based on cream, bacon, yogurt and garlic.
As you can see, there are many false myths being suffered by Italian cooking. Come and visit our Country to try yourself all real specialties of Made in Italy!
To enjoy your stay and experience local habits and traditions of the Italian peninsula, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
Are you ready to leave?
Villa Giorgia – Senigallia (AN)
Villa Oriente – Perticara (RN)
Cas Bettina – Costa Amalfitana (SA)