If you’ve visited or lived in Italy you will know that a large amount of your time is spent eating.
At Mario’s we bring that Italian etiquette to our restaurants and would love to share some fun top tips of dining like a true Italian.
- Wait to Start Eating
You should only pick up your cutlery after your host started eating. At a dinner party this can be the host or the oldest guest at the dinner table. At lunch it can be the boss. However at a restaurant it is considered fine to start eating simply when your food arrives.
- Watch the Host
In Ireland the host usually sits at the head of the table, but in Italy they sit in the middle of the longer side of the table. If it is a round table, imagine there is an invisible line going through the centre of the table, the host will sit at either end.
- Buon Appetito
Believe it or not, this is not considered a welcoming phrase to ‘enjoy your meal’ in Italy. This is because in Italian courts in medieval times, the prince would sometimes offer banquets to his best servants and wishes them “buon appetito” meaning ‘eat as much as you can because you may not be invited to another feast if you don’t behave yourselves’.
- Hands Up
Place your hands on the table where your guests can see them but never your elbows, this is considered rube. Also don’t cross your arms as it is giving your guests the impression you are hiding something.
- Fork This!
Make sure when you are dining with Italian food that you use the right cutlery. For example fish must be served with a special 3 prong fork and a knife similar to a butter knife. However don’t use the knife to cut the fish!! The purpose of the knife is to remove the skin of the fish; you use the fork to cut the fish.
Italians are huge bread eaters. The bread served on the left on a small plate. But don’t cut the bread with a knife, break it apart with your hands and eat it and try not to fill yourself up on bread before your meal arrives.
- Dieting is Over
Italians love their food, so avoid mentioning to the host that you are trying to lose some weight as this is considered a contradiction at Italian dinner tables. Food is there to be eaten and most of all enjoyed – there is no diet when dining at an Italian restaurant! However you can reduce some calories by declining the dessert and even going for the vegetarian option.