1. BRUSCHETTA, the roasted slice of country bread with chopped tomatoes is rather a homey lunch short-cut than a typical starter as one may think.
  2. GARLIC BREAD. Why would we kill our gustatory papilla in the first act? Furthermore, note this: bread is not an appetizer, if it’s on your table, as it should, then have it as it is without asking for oil, balsamic or Parmigiano (see below).
  3. DRESSINGS. The only salad dressing allowed in Italy is oil, salt/pepper, and eventually vinegar (also balsamic) – maybe squeezed lemon drops. That’s it: no sauces, weird dressings, nothing else.
  4. KETCHUP. If you order ketchup: 24 hours of shame. If you attempt to add it to pasta or foodstuff other than fries be aware that the waiter is legally authorised to put you on a plane back to your country.
  5. CESAR SALAD is NOT an Italian dish.
  6. BOLOGNESE MYTH 1. First of all, the sauce name is ragu’, you may name it ragu’ alla Bolognese, but please do not minimise it as “Bolognese” (which is literally a dude from the city of Bologna).
  7. BOLOGNESE MYTH 2. A real Bolognese (the same dude from Bologna) would never EVER have spaghetti with ragu’ (it just does not fit the shape).
  8. ALFREDO SAUCE is NOT Italian; it is mostly unheard of in Italy. And there’s a good reason for that.
  9. NO CAPPUCCINO AFTER MEALS. To an Italian this is utterly disturbing, it’s just a no-fit. After dinner, especially, it’s the opening scene of a gastronomic horror movie.
  10. GELATO is not the same everywhere; it is not worthy everywhere and, respectfully speaking for all the good artisans, the more tourists in a gelateria, the more reasons not to step in.
  11. PEPPERONI PIZZA: let’s not even get into this…. Just forget it! (You may imagine our take on the Hawaiian – all the rest are capital sins).
  12. If you add CREAM to SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA then call it something else. (Maybe Alfredo II- the revenge!!??)
  13. CHICKEN PASTA: noooope!!!!
  14. If a restaurant serves PRE-COOKED PASTA SEPARATE FROM SAUCE, then it’s not Italian.
  15. PARMIGIANO NOTE 1: only cheese produced in specific Emilia-Romagna provinces may be labelled with the protected designation of origin Parmigiano-Reggiano (being Parmigiano the adjective for the city of Parma and Reggiano for Reggio Emilia). Like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano is a trademark: do mind the product origin and spelling!
  16. PARMIGIANO NOTE 2: minimum ageing is 12 months… meaning that an Italian would normally pick an 18 to 24 month one to actually enjoy!
  17. PARMIGIANO NOTE 3: real Italians do grate their own cheese.
  18. PARMIGIANO NOTE 4: indeed we, Italians, declare a profound love for Parmigiano but we’d never have it with bread as a starter. However, this classifies as a venial sin. NO PARMIGIANO ON FISH: although this should be common knowledge let me emphasise it, just to be on the safe side.
  19. NO FOOD MIXING. You can skip one of the courses, but definitely not change their order or have them all at once in the same plate. This applies to side dishes too. Importantly, do not mix different meats or meat & fish, it is a culinary suicide.
  20. Pasta is only AL DENTE. When pasta is sticky, definitely something’s wrong: mind the cooking suggestions on the pack and consider that, if you mix it with sauce, rinsing it a minute earlier is a good tip!
  21. BREAKFAST TIP 1: Italian breakfast includes cappuccino/ caffelatte and brioche, possibly bread or rusks with jam/ honey/ butter: no scrambled eggs, sausages, keep it simple. When in Italy do as the Italians do.
  22. BREAKFAST TIP 2: coffee shop franchise terminology and sizes do not apply in Italy. Grande – Medium – Small can only be the size of your goof.
  23. SPAGHETTI MYTH 1: SPAGHETTI AND SPOON, the odd couple: if majority of the world population can easily use chopsticks…. then rolling spaghetti with a fork should be a joke! Please do practice before travelling.
  24. SPAGHETTI MYTH 2: SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS may have been the one-in-a-lifetime supper hack of an overwhelmed housewife (of doubtful Italian origins though), but turning it into an Italian tradition is excessive.
  25. MEAT BLOOD IS GOOD (and by the way that’s actually a mixture of water and a protein called myoglobin).
  26. WINE IS A CULTURAL STATEMENT: Respect it, let it breathe, swallow it gently.
  27. IN ITALY FOOD IS GOOD EVERYWHERE. Hepp, the statement is debatable depending on your provenience and definitely on the level of taste/ dignity. The rule is not everything is good everywhere: very rarely an Italian would order a lasagna or tortellini in Rome, spaghetti con le sarde in Lombardy or a fiorentina steak in Palermo!
  28. TRUFFLE STINKS DELICIOUS. If I had a cent for all the tourists I’ve heard complaining about their stinky truffle pasta!!!! Yes guys, truffle has a distinctive odour, if it doesn’t, it simply isn’t truffle. If you want to play the gourmet, either study or shut up!
  29. CANNED PASTA is a Geneve-convention banned torture, not a dinner option.
  30. Last but not least, the fine art of USING, NOT ABUSING, GARLIC or PESTO. Myth -If there is pesto or garlic, then it must be Italian: we could spend hours debating this however adding pesto everywhere or excessive garlic does not make your dishes any more Italian!