If you thought Italian food was only spaghetti and pizza, then think again! Here are twelve interesting facts about Italian food to help you get better acquainted with this world-famous cuisine.
1. If you share a dining table with an Italian, you’ll always find bread, water and wine but be careful never to place the bread upside down on the table otherwise it could bring you bad luck.
2. Italians take their dining very seriously: lunch usually begins with antipasti, followed by two other courses, dessert and an espresso coffee.
3. There are many interesting foodstuffs you’ll find on a dining table in Italy, such as horse, donkey, goat, sea urchin, sparrows, peacock and sea snails!
4. Italians usually only drink a milky coffee in the mornings as they like to dunk cakes or biscuits into cappuccinos and lattes.
5. A familiar Italian saying before eating a meal is Buon appetito!, which is to wish diners in Italian restaurants in Dublin and around the world a good appetite.
6. Pizza originated in Naples during the 18th century when it was a flat, dry bread considered a food for poorer people. However, in 1889, once Queen Margherita tasted it, she ordered variations of ‘pizza’ from her chef who consequently created the Pizza Margherita.
7. During Christmas, Italians will eat a panettone, a special sweet bread cake. And on the 1st of January they’ll feast on lentils for good luck in the New Year.
8. There are countless types of pasta shapes and different sizes of pasta, which can be eaten either dried or fresh.
9. The word spaghetti actually means ‘strings’ from the days before factories when people would make their own spaghetti and hang them out to dry.
10. Lucrezia Borgia lends her name to the pasta we know as ‘tagliatelle’. This is in honour of her long, blonde hair and this pasta type is now widely served in many popular restaurants such as forno500.
11. The first pasta factory was opened in 1824 near Genova by the Agnese family.
12. There are various names given to the different types of establishments selling food in Italy. For example, you can buy any type of food in a Ristorante except for a pizza. For pizza you must go to a Pizzeria, of course!