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Dining Etiquette in Italy

February 15th, 2018

Dining Etiquette in Italy

Many people consider the food in Italy to be among the finest in the world. Depending on the part of the country you visit, you may enjoy delicious risottos, hearty fish soups and stews, scrumptious pasta and prosciutto or lamb and polenta. While there is a fantastic variety of food served in Italy, some rules of food etiquette still apply no matter where or what you’re going to eat.

The Basics of Dining Etiquette in Italy

Wine often accompanies many meals in Italy. Dining etiquette in Italy typically mandates that the finest wine selections be served first. This gives guests the chance to appreciate the fine wine before they become too involved in their meal or the topic at hand.

Depending on the people you’ll dine with, one of your companions may start the meal by offering a toast. “Salute!” is a frequent toast heard throughout Italy. “Cin-cin” is a less formal toast that’s also common. Both toasts are intended to wish diners good health, and you should acknowledge the well-wishes by raising your glass.

Be sure you know where to sit before you take a seat at the table because your host might have a pre-determined seating arrangement. Even if there’s already food on your plate when you take your seat, you should refrain from eating until your host says, “Buòn appetito!” When you hear those words, it’s okay to start enjoying your food.

The Do's of Dining Etiquette in Italy

Food etiquette in Italy governs how you should manage your utensils during a meal. You shouldn’t exchange utensils between hands. You should hold your knife in your right hand and your fork in your left.

When you are done eating, lay your utensils on the right side of your plate so that they’re parallel, and the tines of your fork are facing downward If you leave your cutlery on your plate for too long during your meal, your waiter or waitress may interpret it as a sign that you’re done eating and remove your plate from the table prematurely. To prevent this, lay your utensils on the side of your dish to indicate that you’re not finished with your meal.

Your place setting may include a small plate, a larger plate and a bowl. In general, it’s safe to assume the small plate is for antipasto, the larger one is for the main course and the bowl is for soup or pasta.

The Don'ts of Dining Etiquette in Italy

Food etiquette in Italy also dictates how you should handle your hands. When you’re not holding your cutlery, your hands should remain visible above the table. It’s acceptable to rest your wrists on the table, but you should never put your elbows on the table.

To remain in line with dining etiquette while you’re in Italy, you should pass all dishes to the left, and avoid using a spoon to assist you with twirling or eating any pasta dish. Instead, use a fork and the side of the bowl the pasta is served in to twirl the noodles onto your fork.

Avoid slurping your pasta even if the noodles are long. Do not put more pasta than you can consume in a single mouthful on your fork at any time. Sticking to this basic rule of thumb will prevent you from inadvertently slurping your pasta.

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