When you first move it’s likely you’ll still be craving foods from home or (if you’re like me) pouring milk into your tea for some time. But sooner or later you’ll find you’ve ditched your old ways and adopted Italian-style dining habits.
Smothering food in oil and cheese
In Italy, those concerns we have in western countries about fats and oils don’t even register.
I’m always being encouraged to pour more olive oil on my food, and to cover it in a snowdrift of grated parmesan. For the taste, of course – but also because both foods are believed to be full of health-giving properties. It’s hard to prove whether that’s true or not, but since moving here I’ve definitely relaxed my attitude towards fatty foods.
Eating isn’t cheating
Back home in the UK, a (proper) night out doesn’t include eating – a rule which is so elegantly summed up in the phrase “eating is cheating”. But in Italy, this would never happen in a million years. Bars always offer you a few little snacks (stuzzichini) with your drink: usually crisps and olives at least. Aperitivo “hour” involves a full-on hot buffet. Nope, there’s no danger of that spritz going to your head.
Say goodbye to fast food
While McDonalds does exist in Italy, I’m yet to meet an Italian who has anything less than a scathing opinion of it. Ready meals and pre-prepared foods in supermarkets are scarce. And you can forget about ordering a late-night takeaway, too.
As far as most Italians are concerned, take-out food is pizza – and that’s it. And everyone knows pizza is best right out of the oven, so why not just go to the pizzeria down the street? After some time in Italy, you too will probably find the very idea of greasy takeaways revolting.
Coffee after dinner
While you might previously have avoided drinking coffee after dinner, thinking it would ruin a good night’s sleep, it won’t be long before you’re ordering a caffe after every meal. Dinner just won’t be the same without that delicious little shot of caffeine. (But not cappucino, of course…)
No more filling your wine glass to the top
While it might not seem like a bad thing to slurp from a glass of wine that’s full to the brim at home, in Italy it’s a big no-no. So take your time, there’s plenty of wine to go around.