FLORENCE, Italy—If you think you can eat a lot, try sitting down for a meal with an Italian. Prepare for three courses, some wine, and maybe an espresso to top it all off.
Fire engine red tomatoes and a tiny basil leaf rest atop a perfectly toasted slice of bread. Add a little olive oil and your taste buds will be sold on the popular antipasto dish bruschetta. Antipasto, meaning before the meal, is the American version of an appetizer.
After a delectable antipasto comes the primo, or first course, a beautifully presented pasta, rice or soup dish. Italians care about the presentation just as much as they care about the actual food. After your spaghetti, risotto, or gazpacho comes il secondo, the second course. This usually consists of a small perfectly cooked meat portion accompanied by the contorno, or side dish of vegetables that pair with the meat.
Finally comes the dolce, or the sweet. If you’re not in the mood for a cannoli or tiramisù, don’t fret, you have other options such as caffè corretto or vin santo. Caffè corretto is a shot of espresso with a small amount of liquor, said to help with digestion. The vin santo is a sweet wine served with biscotti for dipping into the wine.
So, if you’re up for the challenge sit down for a traditional Italian meal and maybe wear clothing that stretches.