Italian Culture: Beyond Pasta and Pizza

Italy is renowned for its delectable cuisine, with dishes like pasta and pizza taking centre stage. However, Italian food and culture offer so much more than these iconic dishes. It is renowned for its wide variety of cheeses, desserts and exceptional wines, each with its own unique flavours and characteristics. In this blog, we will discover the lesser-known aspects of Italian food and immerse ourselves in the Italian culture.

Italian Dining

Italian dining traditions follow a structured approach, with meals divided into courses. A typical Italian menu consists of il antipasto (appetizer), il primo (a pasta first course), and il secondo (a meat-based main dish). These courses are often accompanied by an insalata (salad), contorni (side dishes), and i dolci (desserts). However, variations exist, and vegetarians can find options on most menus.


Parmigiano Reggiano, also known as Parmesan cheese, is a staple in Italian cuisine. It dates back to the Middle Ages when monks developed a cheese that could be aged for a long time. Today, only cheese produced in specific regions can legally bear the name Parmigiano Reggiano. This hard, crumbly cheese adds depth and taste to pasta, soups, and various other dishes.


Gelato, Italy’s famous frozen treat, is a must-try for any visitor. It is made with milk, has a denser texture and a lower fat content than ice cream. Gelaterias come in wide array of flavours and can be found throughout the country.


The Bellini cocktail is a classic Italian drink made with fresh peach puree and prosecco or champagne. It originated in Venice in the 1940s and has since become popular worldwide. The fruity sweetness of peaches and the effervescence of prosecco make for a delightful combination.

Additionally, Italian coffee culture is unique and differs from that of many other countries. Coffee shops in Italy, known as “bars”, are small and specialized establishments. Locals often stand at the bar and order a shot of espresso, sipping it slowly and possibly enjoying a pastry alongside. Milk-based coffees like cappuccino are also popular, and sitting at a table allows you to enjoy your coffee and food at a more leisurely pace. Italians take their time and don’t rush their coffee experience.

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