Coffee and biscotti's

5 Essential Rules for Eating in Italy

Italy takes its cuisine seriously. Pizza, spaghetti, minestrone — the list goes on. In fact, Italy was voted as 2017’s “country with the best food” by CNN.

 

If you’re trying to fit in with Italian business clients, learning how to eat will be important.

 

Italy’s regions are very different from one another. It’s important that you do some extra research on the specific city you’re visiting, as it likely has its own culture.

 

US buffets and Italian buffets aren’t the same.

In Italy, there is a meal called aperitivo. This is Italy’s “happy hour”, where you can get a drink and two hours of unlimited food for 10 euros. To Italians, this is a chance to have some cheese and fruit before a large dinner. To Americans, this is a bargain buffet.

 

To Italians, this is a chance to have some cheese and fruit before a large dinner. To Americans, this is a bargain buffet.

 

Cappuccinos are for mornings only.

 

If you want everyone in Italy to know that you’re a foreigner, order a cappuccino with your meal during lunch. There’s an Italian tradition that people’s stomachs can’t handle milk after noon.

 

Still need that caffeine kick? Go for espresso. Coffee is always welcome in Italy.

 

“To go” is a no

 

Although it may be common in New York or Toronto, grabbing a coffee on the way to work is foreign to Italians.

 

Common scenario in Italy: An American walks into an Italian cafe and asks for a cappuccino a porta via (to take away). The Italian barista has no idea what they’re talking about, and digs around looking for something that he could pour coffee into.

 

Buying a coffee “to go” is not only seen as disrespecting Italian culture, it’s just not understood by Italians.

 

Most Italians take their time with their coffee, drinking it at the cafe bar, or with friends and family.

 

Common scenario in Italy: An American walks into an Italian cafe and asks for a cappuccino a porta via (to take away). The Italian barista has no idea what they're talking about, and digs around looking for something that he could pour coffee into.

 

Italian cafes offer different prices depending on whether you stand at the bar or sit at a table. These prices are noted on the menus: banco is standing and tavolo is sitting. Take this into consideration on your next visit to an Italian cafe.

 

Water or Wine?

 

Neapolitan pizza and raspberry-pomegranate iced tea probably doesn’t taste good together. The world’s tastiest country of 2017 can’t risk their guests having confused palettes.

 

Italian tables are usually set up with water (mineral or still) and a bottle of wine, depending on the food being served. Cocktails and liqueurs are saved for aperitivi (before-dinner drinks) and digestivi (after-dinner drinks).

 

Relax

 

This one has two meanings.

 

Italians eat and drink very slowly and you should to, especially if you’re invited to an Italian business partner’s home. It may take an hour to make the food, and many more hours to finish it.

 

Schedule accordingly and relax, you’re about to eat the world’s greatest food.

 

And don’t fret about making mistakes. Luckily, Italy is quite fond of foreigners, especially in the northern regions.

 

And don’t fret about making mistakes. Luckily, Italy is quite fond of foreigners, especially in the northern regions.

 

You won’t be exiled for ordering a cappuccino in the evening, or slapped for drinking a Coke with your spaghetti.

 

Being aware of these cultural differences and making an effort goes a long way in Italy.

 

These rules will help you fit in with your Italian business clients. Veem can also help.

 

Veem makes global B2B transactions simple and secure. Using its multi-rail system to find the most efficient method for your business, Veem offers double the transaction speed and half of the cost of the average bank.

 


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