Italy: Foodie Paradise
22 May 2020
If you are a foodie like I am, Italy is the place to go. The cuisine is more than just pizza and pasta. You will discover a whole lot more. You will be forgiven for thinking eating was a simple and straight forward affair in Italy. There are rules and etiquettes, and you have to know them. Or you will get a “glance” of disapproval from the locals – that is if you are not in the tourist restaurants. For example – bread is bread and you should not butter it. In fact, you won’t be given any butter and if you asked for some, you will get the “glance”!
I am used to cutting up my pasta to make it manageable to eat. But this is not the right way. You should use your fork and learn to twirl the pasta. I am talking about foods such as spaghetti or tagliatelle. It is best to order the wine by half carafe at a time – you rarely see a drunken Italian!!
As you can guess, there are different courses from ‘antipasto’ (starter), ‘primo’ which is in two parts (pasta, gnocchi, risotto or soup dish) and , ‘secondo’ which is your fish or meat dish. And you take your time to eat – savouring every bit of your food – heaven!
The famous Bistecca all Florentina dish came highly recommended. This is simply a huge amount of T-bone steak cooked to perfection. The steak was too much for one person and so we skipped the starter so as to leave room for this huge steak. When the steak arrived, my friend and I looked at it and wondered how on earth would we get through it – a lot of meat! We made sure we did. The steak was amazing.
It is suffice to say that the ‘separate stomach for desert’ was full! Deserts are also served in two parts – ‘formaggio e frusta’ (cheese and fruit course). This is a great end to an Italian meal. And ‘dolci’ (sweet course like tiramisu, cakes, ice creams).
One of the things that surprised me was that at the end of the meal, restaurants often came with a small glass of a drink (not a bottle) called Limoncello, one of the most recognised Italian liqueurs or grappa which was like brandy. We accepted and enjoyed both.