The main characteristic of Italian cooking is its healthy balance, the excellent basic
ingredients being simply cooked and retaining their original goodness and freshness. Simple and yet with such a
variety of flavors and rich inventiveness in preparation, that even the most demanding gourmet is delighted.
Italian breakfast is quite different from
American or English.
usually light: cappuccino (coffee
and milk) and a
or simply espresso (black-short-strong
Pranzo (lunch) is the big meal except
in the industrialized cities. It consists of
antipasto (starter) a
rice or soup), a
(meat or fish) with
or salad), then
frutta ( fresh fruit).
Finish with espresso and maybe a
amaro (strong digestive liqueur).
Cena (dinner) is similar to lunch. Nowadays there is a tendency of having
a light lunch, then dinner becomes the major meal.
|Where to eat ?
There are thousands of
ristoranti (restaurants): the most formal type of place to eat when
one is not in a hurry, sometimes a little fancy and pricy and family-run;
less formal than a ristorante,
where local specialties are served;
panineria: a sandwich bar, where a quick meal can be had at any time of the day;
pizzeria: is not only for pizza lovers!
"Italy is not only the largest producer of wines, but above all a producer of great wines.”
Its climate, soil and very old traditions of viticulture make Italy a natural wine
growing nation. The wines are as personal as a name, as different as the colors of the rainbow and as much a part
of Italian life as almost 3,000 years of tradition can make them. The Etruscans of North-Central Italy, who created
one of the peninsula's earliest civilizations, left evidence of how to make wine. The Greeks who soon after established
themselves in the South gave Italy the name
Enotria (the land of wine).For centuries wine growing has been the cultivation which used most of the labor of
the Italian farmers; this is still true today; a large part of the population is engaged in the vine and wine industry.
Other Italian drinks include aperitifs, blended principally over a base of the world-famous
Piedmont Vermouth; dessert wines,
such as Moscato,
from Sicily and sparkling wines from Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany and the
Islands. Italy also has excellent beers and a great variety of effervescent mineral waters.