Embrace the food culture of Italy before enjoying the annual festival

By Rachel Betz - ReminderNews Intern
Enfield - posted Fri., Jul. 22, 2011
- Contributed Photo

To prepare for the Mount Carmel Society’s annual Italian Festival on Aug. 5, 6 and 7, it’s helpful to know about the food culture in Italy.

In Italy, food and meals are an important part of family life. The entire family sits down to a formal dinner, complete with a set dinner table and tablecloth. When dining, it is polite to keep your hands out of your lap, and your elbows off the table. Water and wine are the typical drink at meals – unless the meal is pizza, then soft drinks or beer are typical. Italians are used to seeing wine on the table during meal time from a young age. There are appropriate times to eat certain foods, such as cappuccino. Cappuccino is considered a breakfast drink, and is not appropriate after lunch or dinner.

Breakfast is usually kept simple. A typical Italian breakfast includes caffé latte or tea, biscuits or pastries and, if requested, fruit. Cereal is not a common breakfast food, as it is much more costly in Italy than in the U.S.

Italians eat dinner much later than most Americans. The typical dinner time in Italy is around 8 p.m.

Dinner usually consists of four courses, starting with the antipasto. This typically is an assortment of cheeses, olives, appetizer meats served with bread. The second course is almost always a pasta dish, but can also be soup, rice, or polenta. The third course is the main course, which is meat or seafood. This course is usually simple. The main course is accompanied by a platter of vegetables. The final course is dessert, which is fresh fruits or sweets.

Learn Italian; talk about food!

food: cibo

breakfast: colazione

lunch: pranzo

dinner: cena

fork: forchetta

spoon: cucchiaino

knife: coltello

wine: vino

coffee: caffé

Parmesan cheese: Parmigiano

meat: carne

chicken: pollo

dessert: dolci

cheese: formaggio

beverages: bevande

fish: pesce

boiled: bollito

grilled: alla griglia

fried: fritto

roasted: arrosto

vegetables: verdure

fruit: frutta

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