If you are ever fortunate enough to visit Italy, please make sure that wherever you decide to dine you go on a completely empty stomach. Italy is a very generous country when it comes to catering to healthy appetites. If you are planning to enjoy lunch, which is known as ”pranzo”, make sure to skip breakfast and if you are planning to dine, which is known as ”cena”, make sure that your lunch was very light. The reason behind this is the way Italian meals are structured.
In Italy, breakfast which is known as ”colazione” is very light. You will not find bacon and eggs or sausage biscuits. Usually, Italians will start their day with a brioshe or croissant watered down with a smoking and creamy cappuccino. Perhaps one of the reasons why breakfast is so light is because of the anticipation of the largest meal of the day: pranzo.
If you are considering preparing an Italian meal abroad you have to structure it in the same way it is structured in Italy. A good way to replicate an Italian pranzo is to divide the food in the following courses:
-Primo (first course)
-Secondo (second course)
-Contorno (side dish)
A typical antipasto consists of some cold cuts artistically arranged on a large tray slightly overlapping one on top of each other. For creative chefs, some black and green olives may add an artistic touch, along with halved cherry tomatoes. Alternatively, bruschettas may be served. These can have several flavors such as tomato, liver paste, artichoke, eggplant or olive paste.
The main course is always a nice bowl of pasta. The pasta may be served with a red sauce or a white sauce. These sauces may be vegetable or meat based. In some cases, the main course may consist of a tasty risotto. Never forget grated cheese.
The second course is meat or fish. These dishes are offered often with side dishes. The side dishes often consist of vegetables that are offered in bowls for people to self serve.
Dessert is always very welcomed, if there is enough space. Tiramisu’ is a classic that most people love.
Fruit is offered at the end of the meal often simply in a basket allowing the guest to choose what he or she prefers.
Coffee is often served. This helps Italians stay awake during the lazy afternoon hours. Often Italians will enjoy a short siesta in these hours time permitting. In some towns stores even close generally from 12 PM to 4 PM so to allow an enjoyable pranzo often followed by an afternoon nap.
As seen, structuring an Italian meal may be an interesting culinary experience. Simply purchase fresh ingredients, arm yourself with your best Italian recipes and make sure all your guests are well prepared to eat hearty meals one after another. Bon Apettito!