How to Order a Traditional Italian Meal
Eat like an Italian and indulge in the traditional Italian meal structure.
With so many courses, it's no wonder that the meal structure of a traditional Italian meal remains a mystery to many of whom are not of Italian descent! However, although a traditional Italian meal can seem overwhelming on paper (or on a menu!), each course is perfectly balanced to complement the next. So, come visit us at La Piazza Dario and dine like a true Italian with our guide to a traditional Italian meal below!
The Traditional Italian Meal Structure
Aperitivo: The aperitivo is close to the equivalent of the North American appetizer. Examples of an aperitivo are olives, cheese, etc. and are often accompanied with wine or other alcoholic drinks, such as prosecco.
Antipasto: An antipasto is a starter that follows the aperitivo. It is a lighter course than the first course and is often served cold.
Primo: As the first course, the primo usually consists of a non-meat dish, such as risotto, pasta, gnocchi, or soup.
Secondo: The secondo is the second course dish and includes different types of poultry, fish and/or red meat.
Contorno: A contorno is a side dish that is usually served alongside the secondo, however, each dish is always served on two separate plates. More often than not, a contorno is made up of vegetables.
Insalata: The insalata is normally a fresh garden salad.
Formaggi e frutta: Litterally, formaggi e frutta means cheese and fruit and is a dish that consists of locally made cheeses and whatever fresh fruit is in season.
Dolce: Dolce is the dessert of the meal, with popular dessert dishes being tiramisù, panna cotta, gelato or sorbetto, or cannoli.
Caffè: A caffè is traditionally had at the end of an Italian meal. The caffè of choice is, more often than not, an espresso.
Digestivo: The digestivo are drinks consumed at the end of the meal to help aid digestion. Popular digestivo drinks are grappa, amaro and limoncello.
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