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Travel & Holidays in later life

ITALY - FOOD AND DRINK

Italy can be enjoyed sitting down. The locals spend much of their leisure at pavement cafe gossiping and watching the world go by. Favourite drinks are extra-strong cups of espresso, or aperitifs like Campari soda.

There is infinite choice of cafe locations: in ancient piazzas, echoing with children at play; in side-streets, friendly as a village pub; at busy crossroads, providing ringside seats for the cut-and-thrust blood sport of Italian driving

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Set menu: 2A standard menu turistico' comprises a flat-rate 3-course meal, usually with a drink such as beer or quarter-litre of wine, service and tax. The price may be reasonable enough, but don't expect any gastronomic delights.

Most restaurants charge coperto', which is a cover charge. Then there is service which can add 10-20% on the total bill. Tipping is not necessary on top, unless for exceptional service. VAT is added. Keep your restaurant bill, as tax inspectors are making valiant attempts to keep tabs on the catering trade. Within 200 metres of a restaurant, inspectors can ask you to produce your receipt: otherwise, a hefty fine. For the tourist, it's all rather theoretical.

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Food? Everywhere in Italy, there is good eating almost anywhere you go. Restaurants offer a Menu Turistico at fixed all-inclusive prices, and there are fast-food establishments of every type. But all the main cities have colourful restaurants by the dozen. It's worth devoting part of your city break to the enjoyment of good food in surroundings that are loaded with atmosphere.

If you go overboard for Italian cuisine with Italian wine, you can have glorious eating at reasonable cost, with enormous choice of restaurants. It's much more fun than eating standard ‘international' hotel menus. Don't worry if you cannot speak Italian - just wave and point. But most waiters in holiday locations have basic English.

Another type of restaurant/cafes called tavola calda, which serves simple hot dishes at reasonable price. Customers eat standing up – dishes of spaghetti, ravioli or whatever the dish of the day happens to be. It's very handy for a quick lunch, if you don't want a full sit-down meal spread over a couple of hours.

Italy features three main kinds of restaurant – osteria, trattoria and ristorante, in ascending order of quality and price, though nowadays the distinction is blurring.

If you cannot manage a full meal at lunch-time, there are plenty of chances for snacks. Many bars have a selection of sandwiches called tramezzini which have very appetising fillings.

At a pizzeria, you can fill up with a bowl of thick minestrone and a huge pizza that overlaps a dinner plate.

For picnic eating, there is good, cheap fruit – oranges, cherries, melons, peaches, apricots, grapes, fresh figs, according to season. Excellent cheeses, cooked meats and salads help keep outgoings low.

Learn the Italian word etto, which means hectogramme or 100 grammes, about four ounces. Fish or steak dishes are frequently priced per etto, not per portion. Know the system, and save yourself a nasty shock when the bill comes.

Bar codes

There is something very typically Italian about the snack bars dominated by a massive espresso machine, gleaming and polished and steaming. On the shelves behind are bottles of every conceivable spirit and liqueur known to European man. These establishments are also useful as a stopping-point for a quick sandwich.

In the mornings from 7 to 11 a.m. you'll find Italians having their breakfasts of cappuccinos and cornettos (croissants). However, if you feel in need of a brandy, you will not be on your own!

For a stand-up drink, you normally pay first at the cash desk (cassa). Take the receipt to the bar, put a small coin on top, and tell the barman what you want. The tip ensures rapid service. Standing at the bar is always much cheaper than having drinks and sandwiches served to a table. You're not supposed to buck the system by ordering at the bar, and then sitting down.


 

Zuppe e Antipasti 

Soups and Starters

Gamberetti         

Shrimps

Melone con fichi

Melon with figs

Melone con prosciutto

Melon with ham
 

Misto or frutti di mare

Mixed seafood

Panada

Broth

Zuppa di pesce

Fish soup

Zuppa di fagioli

Bean soup

Risotti e Pasta

Rice and Pasta dishes

Asparagi

Risotto with asparagus

Primavera

Risotto with fresh vegetables

Nere de seppie
 

Risotto with cuttlefish in its ink

Bigoli 
 

Dark coloured pasta     

Pasta e fagioli

Pasta with white bean soup

Risi e Anguilla

Rice and eel

Risi e bisi

Rice and peas

Pesce e Crostacei 

Fish and shellfish

Anguilla

Eel

Aringa     

Herring

Baccala

Cod

Branzino

Sea bass

Calamari

Squid

Cozze

Mussels

Frutta di mare

Seafood

Gamberelli

Prawns

Granchi

Shrimps

Nasello

Haddock

Ostriche

Oysters

Pesce spada

Swordfish

Salmone

Salmon

Sgombro

Mackerel

Sogliola

Plaice

Sogliola Finta

Sole

Tonno

Tuna

Triglia

Red Mullet

Trota

Trout

Carne 

Meat

Agnello

Lamb

Anatra/anitra

Duck

Bistecca

Steak

Bistecca de Filetto

Fillet steak
 

Braciola

Cutlet, chop

Bue

Beef

Coniglio

Rabbit

Coscia

Leg

Cotoletta/Costata

Cutlet/chop

Fagiono

Pheasant

Fegato

Liver

Maiale

Pork

Manzo

Beef

Montone

Mutton

Pollo

Chicken

Prosciutto

Ham

Ragout

Stew

Rognoni

Kidneys

Rosbif

Roast beef

Salsicce

Sausage

Salsicce alla Griglia

Grilled                 sausage

Selvaggina

Venison

Tacchino

Turkey

Tournedo

Rump steak

Vitello

Veal

 

Verdura

Vegetables

Aglio

Garlic

Barbabietola/Bietola

Beetroot

Carciofi

Artichokes

Carroti

Carrots

Cavolfiore

Cauliflower

Cetriolo

Cucumber

Cipolle

Onions

Fagioli

Beans

Funghi

Mushrooms

Insalata

Salad

Lattuga

Lettuce

Melanzana

Aubergines

Patate

Potatoes

Peperoni

Peppers

Piselli

Peas

Pomodoro

Tomato

Spinaci

Spinach

Dolci

Desserts

Bussolai

Traditional biscuits from Burano

Gelato

Ice cream

Tiramisu

Rich dessert soaked in coffee and liqueur, and covered in cream

Zabaglione

Dessert made with egg yolks and Marsala

Zuppa inglese

Trifle

Frutta

Fruit

Albicocca

Apricot

Ananas

Pineapple

Anguria

Water melon

Arancia

Orange

Cillege

Cherries

Fragole

Strawberries

Frutta fresca

Fresh fruit

Lamponi

Raspberries

Mela

Apple

Pera

Pear

Pesca

Peach

Pompelino

Grapefruit

Prugna

Plum

Bibite 

Drinks

Acqua Minerale

Mineral water

Birra

Beer

Caff

Black coffee

Cappuccino

White coffee

Latte

Milk

T

Tea

Vino rosso/bianco
 

Wine red / white

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

Burro

Butter

Formaggio

Cheese

Frittata

Omelette

Gnocchi

Dumplings

Minestra

Soup

Pane

Bread

Salsa

Sauce

Uova

Eggs

Enjoy a pizza in the Italian sun


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