Before You Take A Guided Tour Of Italy, Take A Sneak Peek At These Food And Beverage Traditions
One of the most enjoyable aspects of guided Italian tours is the food and drink. If you are not prepared, however, some of the traditional Italian cuisines might surprise you. Here are some of the most notable food and drink traditions to get excited about.
Your first morning in Italy will be pleasantly surprising. Italian breakfasts are very different than the starting meals here in the United States. If you are having a traditional Italian breakfast, you will likely eat a cornetto. A cornetto is similar to a French croissant, but it is sweeter, denser, and not as flaky. It also goes well with a caffeinated beverage, especially a cappuccino or espresso. You need not stop there, though--most Italians drink caffeinated drinks throughout the day!
Gelato is one of the most popular Italian treats. It shares many of the same ingredients as ice cream, but the taste is distinctly different and individual flavors truly "pop." This is because gelato's ingredients are churned less. The resulting product is more dense and less fattening. It is also served at a slightly warmer temperature.
If you are not much of a drinker, brace yourself. After a meal, Italians enjoy "grappa," the after-dinner drink. This well-established tradition has roots as far back as the Middle Ages, and is said to aid in the digestive process.
Grappa is made from the leftovers of the wine-making process. You can drink it chilled, take it as a shot, or mix it with your espresso. If this particular drink is not for you, then you can replace it with a different alcoholic beverage, like wine, bitters, or liqueur.
All of this extra alcohol can quickly dehydrate you, so stay hydrated! If you order water at a restaurant, however, be prepared for the server to return with a bottle of the sparkling variety. Most Italians view tap water as a foreign concept, so if you want it, you need to specify in advance. Give the sparkling variety a chance, though; as an added benefit, most varieties contain a healthy dose of minerals.
True, authentic Italian pizza is a world away from the deep dish and topping-laden American variety. It some regions, it is even regulated! In most restaurants, you do not order a whole pizza pie for the table--just enough slices for yourself. You also eat the pizza at the restaurant; you do not order whole pies to go or call for a delivery. As for pizza ingredients, Italians use smoked mozzarella cheeses, salad greens, and anchovies. They add fewer meats, less tomato sauce, and more spices.To truly fit in, do not leave behind the crust!
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