Tips & Recipes

How to live in Italy like an Italian

Some tips from Alberto Bettiol

March 3, 2021

Italians have plenty of little quirks to their daily routines that the casual visitor will most likely be completely unaware of. Alberto Bettiol shared with us his pearls of traveling cuisine wisdom so you can experience la dolce vita.

Rule uno

When ordering a seafood or fish pasta dish leave the parmesan for another day, just add a little olive oil for flavor if you desire. Putting fish and cheese together will cause a few eyebrows to raise.

Rule due

The Italians are big coffee lovers and take drinking this dark aromatic liquid goodness very seriously. They drink coffee at all hours of the day but are very particular about the type of coffee you take and at which time. For example, the Italians will not drink a cappuccino after 11am. They drink their cappuccini (plural of cappuccino) at breakfast quite often alongside a sweet pastry. Order a cappuccino after lunch or dinner and you may receive an exasperated sigh.

Rule tre

Don’t put pesto on pizza! Period. There are many toppings that go well on top of a nice warm crunchy pizza base but we’re told that pesto is not one of them, this is strictly for pasta. Don’t even get us started on BBQ sauce pizzas…

Rule quattro

It’s not that the Italians have a personal vendetta against tomato ketchup, but they strictly forbid its use on pasta or pizza. Be warned!

Rule cinque

Not surprisingly there are more rules around pasta, this delicious Italian staple may seem a simple dish, but to cook it and to gain an Italian’s seal of approval. Bettiol says you have to let the water come to the boil before putting the pasta in.

Rule sei

When your waiter places your eagerly awaited dish of pasta goodness down in front of you, do not sprinkle salt on it. The pasta water should already be salted and so the pasta should be salted correctly. Well, that is if they’ve used the recommended ratio of 10 grams of salt per liter of water. Also, it’s important not to add olive oil to the pasta water. Olive oil should be added after the pasta is done cooking. Mamma mía!

Rule sette

If you order spaghetti or tagliatelle, then Bettiol asks that you don’t take a knife and cut it up. This style of pasta should be eaten with a fork and spoon, the art of twirling it around your fork with the help of the spoon and gracefully placing it in your mouth is something to be mastered.

Alberto took us on a tour of his home region of Tuscany back in the summer of 2019. Watch it here: 

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