Food talk- Italian style!

Crescentine fritte time!

I have been thinking about putting together an Italian language lesson to share, but could not figure the focus until the other day. Many people love Italian food and I know how hard it is to go into an Italian restaurant in Italy and order a meal. This blog will give you some background on Italian foods, courses, and places to eat.

Tipi di Ristoranti (Types of Restaurants)

A ristorante is a restaurant

A trattoria is casual and less pricey restaurant

An osteria is even more casual than a trattoria and usually less expensive

A rosticceria specializes in roasted chickens and they are often displayed in the window. They offer buffet style dining and are many people use them for “take out” dining. You’ll find them busy on the weekend.

A pizzeria specializes in pizza, but serves other types of food as well. I have eaten excellent pizza in Bologna, Firenze (Florence) & Napoli (Naples)

A paninoteca specializes in hot and cold sandwiches & beer

A tavolo caldo is like a cafeteria with food already prepared and ready for you to pick up. The business and university crowd can often be seen here on their lunch hour.

A bar specializes in coffee but usually has sandwiches, breakfast items and alcohol. It is a family place and children are welcome here.

A sala da tè specializes in tea and pastries

A gelateria, one of my personal favorites, specializes in Italian ice creams called gelato. On our last trip to Italy I don’t think we went one day without having a gelato!

Pranzo et Cena (The Meals of the Day)

La colazione – breakfast (please note that Italian words are either feminine or masculine and take the article “IL “ for masculine words and “la” for feminine words in the singular form). Breakfast is a light meal for Italians & a large ‘American style’ breakfast can be found in restaurants that mirror American culture.

IL pranzo – lunch, this meal is usually more than one course. My mother-in-law used to prepare lunch with a pasta (primo course) and a meat (secondo course) but Max had to tell her to keep it to one dish so I wouldn’t pack on too many extra pounds! Also please note that it is common to drink wine during lunch.

La cena – dinner. Multiple courses can be eaten during dinner with a different type of drink before, during, and after the meal.

Le portate (The courses)

Antipasto – appetizer

Primo – first course

Secondo – main course

Contorno – side dish (eaten with the main dish)

Dolce – dessert

Bevande – drinks

Types of drinks can include:

(1) L’ Aqua minerale (mineral water) can be naturale (without gas) or con gas (with gas)
(2) IL Vino (wine) – can be bianco (white), rosso (red) or rosé (pink)
(3) La Birra (beer) – One of the most common is Moretti. Of course they have non-alcoholic beer too which I drank during one trip to Italy when I was pregnant with Matteo.
(4) L’Espresso caffé (espresso) A few other types include:

(a) IL Caffé Americana (coffee)
(b) IL Cappuccino is common; usually drank in the morning.

Note: The types of caffé drinks goes on, and on, and on & the standard coffee in Italy is espresso.

(5) Liquori (liquor) A few types include:

(a) Grappa – (liquor made from left over grapes) very strong, it is digestivo (drank after dinner)
(b) Campari– an aperitivo (drank before dinner)
(c) Limoncello– made with lemon; see my post I love to eat authentic Italian food for a few more details on this item.

I Typi di Mangiare (Types of Foods)

Max about to eat 'carne rossa'

Max about to eat ‘carne rossa’

La Carne – (meat) Some types include:
(1) IL Conglio (rabbit)
(2) IL Pollo (chicken)
(3) La Carne Rossa (red meat),and my personal favorite is the last item
(4) IL Cingliale (wild boar) see my post I love to eat authentic Italian food for a few more details on this item.

Note: 75% of Italians like their meat prepared “al sangue” (medium rare)

IL Pesce –( fish) Some types include:
(1) IL Rombo (whitefish from the Mediterran Sea) – it is from aqua salata (salted water)
(2) IL Baccalà (codfish) – it is from aqua salta and preserved in salt
(3) La Trota (trout) it is a river fish in either aqua dolce (sweet water) or aqua salata
(4) La Triglia (red mullet) has a lot of omega 3 nutrients. – it is from aqua salata

La Frutta– fruit – most fruits are the same as in the U.S.A. They are seasonal and if something is available off season it is coming from another area.

A fruit unique to the country is amarene (an Italian type of cranberry, similar to a sour cherry)

Le Verdure– vegetables – most vegetables are similar to the U.S.A. One thing in Italy that we do not have here is cavolo nero (black cabbage). This item is grown only in Tuscany in the month of January. Italians freeze this vegetable to use year round.

For the sake of not making today’s blog any longer I will save going into detail about i fromaggi (cheese) and le paste (pasta) of Italy for a later blog! There are many types of both and I can easily devote an entire blog or two to these two types of food!

One last note on food, Italians love to enjoy their food, family, and friends. Meals are not rushed and they are a time to connect with everyone about the day’s events.

Buon appetito!!! (Enjoy your meal) And Max thank you for sharing information about your culture for this blog. “Ti amo”.

Photos of/ in different types of restaurants:

Gelato time - good stuff from a 'gelateria'

Gelato time – good stuff from a ‘gelateria’

Max outside a traditional 'Osteria'

Max outside a traditional ‘Osteria’

Waiting for my tea to brew in a 'bar'

Waiting for my tea to brew in a ‘bar’

Kids start drinking early in Italy! 'bar' time

Kids start drinking early in Italy! ‘bar’ time

(day 77)


6 thoughts on “Food talk- Italian style!

  1. I am so enjoying reading your blog! I especially love all the entries on your travels….. makes me long for my single days when I used to travel. I am still in awe of you and Max for taking the littles all the way to Europe. Very brave of you indeed! Can’t wait to read more……..-Steph

    • Steph, thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. Traveling abroad with kids becomes easier and easier every trip. It was definitely the hardest with 2 strollers and 2 car seats, but the pros outweigh the cons & we are always rewarded with seeing family and friends!

  2. This was very interesting and informative read. Everything at restaurants sound so much more expensive and fancier when said in Italian.

    • Winnie, thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. I hope that the vocabulary in this blog can help you order better on your next visit to an Italian restaurant.

    • Hi Valerie, thanks for checking out this post! I hope you can take a family vacation here one day.. I know you all would love it as the Italians really value family, and have some excellent food to eat too!! Meanwhile perhaps there is a gelateria somewhat local for you to visit. We are lucky to have a few great ones in town.

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