One of the lovely things about holidaying in Italy is how laid back everything is. Hanging out at the beach all day without even bothering to read a book. Slow walks in the early evening with no sense of purpose. Long languorous lunches.
Do not be fooled. Although they will humour you when you’re on holiday, Italians are anything but laid back when it comes to rules about food. Here are just a few which would never be transgressed by a self-respecting Italian:
1. Do not have cheese with seafood. If a waiter offers you parmesan for your spaghetti vongole, he is being mischievous and testing you. Look at him with a shocked expression and say ‘Sei pazzo? No grazie!’
2. Do not drink wine with pizza. Beer or a Coke are the correct partners. (Apparently it’s to do with bubbles aiding digestion, but my theory is that the physical wrestling involved in pizza consumption would risk upending an unstable wine glass – better to have a more anchored beer bottle.)
3. Do not drink a cappuccino after 11.30am. From that point it is strictly espresso – yes right until bedtime. Milk in the afternoon is only suitable for the under 3s.
4. It is perfectly acceptable to re-use your knife and fork between courses. But not your plate.
5. If you are served a pasta dish which involves chicken, you are not in a bona fide Italian restaurant. Chicken is a ‘secondo’ which should be eaten on its own. You wouldn’t put a loin of beef or a lamb chop in your pasta would you? Well same thing.
6. Don’t pour wine on wine – ie don’t refill a glass until it is empty, you vulgar beast.
Good luck and enjoy your relaxing stress free, laid back holiday.