When it comes to ranking cultures that love food, Italians would surely be at the top of any list of foodies. Italians are blessed with plentiful, high-quality food products. Many Italians love a good meal. Italian food culture has some fascinating quirks that may appear baffling and amusing to outsiders.
Going Easy on Breakfast
While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, many Italians take breakfast very lightly. Breakfast in many parts of Italy is typically a casual affair with only a cup of cafe latte and perhaps a buttered roll.
Residents of Italy want fresh food. Local markets are the norm here rather than big supermarkets. It’s not uncommon for residents to shop for food every other day and hit several small specialty shops.
Many Italians stick to what’s in season. During the summer, they like their peas and radishes. When fall and winter show up, it’s time for the cabbage, fennel and spinach.
The Holidays Revolve Around Food
Italian holidays typically have a strong food element as part of the celebration. There are specific foods found solely at Christmas and Easter. Locals may spend lots of time creating the ideal panettone for Christmas or a rich Gubana Easter Bread.
Gelato is In
It may be ice cream in much of the rest of the world. For Italians, it’s gelato. This healthier alternative contains less sugar and takes more time to make. Italians like their gelato plain or made from one of the local fruits and then eaten in a cafe as they people watch.
Like everyone else, Italians love fine dining. At the same time, many keep it as simple as possible when it comes to their own tables. Here, the emphasis is on simple ingredients used well. Hearty, filling soups are on the menu as are versatile foods like polenta that take other flavors well and require little cooking time.
Italian food festivals are the stuff of dreams and legend. Travelers can spend much of the year traveling from one part of the country to the next sampling wonderful dishes as local festivals along the way. Many Italian food festivals center around the celebration of a single great food such as olive oil or artichokes.