Fine Italian Dining - More Than Just Sauce
Just because Italians are known for the world renowned pizza and their mouthwatering sandwiches does not mean that Italian cuisine is just all about that. The best Italian dining experience does not have to be confined in some pizzeria or paninoteca. Although those places are wonderful for discovering the true flavors of Italy in a more informal setting, Italian cuisine can also be enjoyed in more upscale ristorantes that provide an ideal atmosphere where family and friends can talk and bond over delicious, authentic Italian dishes. There are just a lot of dining experiences awaiting everyone, it only takes a keen eye to find a nice Italian restaurant and a discerning palette to judge whether the food was an original remake of a Mediterranean classic dish or an American version of what was once Italian.
Restaurants with Italian names or Italian ambiance have sprouted in almost every city. The Italian cuisine is becoming more and more popular with the huge crowd of diners and almost everyone wants to sample Italian fine dining. Although, you may receive the best service in some Italian sounding restaurant, remember that it is not just all about the experience of eating Italian style, but it should be about the food as well. If you are not eating authentic Italian dishes, even if your servers wear traditional costumes, your dining experience is not at all worth being called Italian fine dining. But the question is how do you know that you are eating authentic Italian food or not?
You have to keep in mind that Italian cuisine is all about balance. All their dishes are seasoned with restraint so that one ingredient does not power all the rest. Italian cuisine is all about preserving the natural flavors of every individual ingredient. They do not try to mask the flavors by using too much garlic powder like what most Americans are used to. A great way to know that you are eating authentic Italian food is to order a salad. If the dressing is too robust for the greens then it is probably not done traditionally as it is in Italy. Italians are also about using crisp ingredients and serving food as fresh as possible. Look at the bread served in your chosen Italian restaurant. If they are already warm and possibly day old when they reach your table, chances are you may be dining in those American-Italian restaurants. Most authentic Italian restaurants will serve bread straight from the oven. You can really smell the fragrant scent of newly cooked bread that is crusty in the outside, but puffy and light in the inside.
Now that you have uncovered the truth about your Italian restaurant, you will need to sample their Italian dining experience with regards to the courses or how the food is served. Firstly, you may be served with an "aperitivo" or some cocktails. Most of the time, they will serve you bitters or alcoholic drinks with herbal infusions. After that is the "antipasto" or the appetizers. You may be served with olives, anchovies or Italian cured meats. After the "antipasto" is the first course called the "primo". The first course will usually include a substantial meal packed with carbohydrates like risotto or pasta. The second course or the main dish is called the "secondo". The main dish is usually made of fish, pork, veal and chicken. The main dish may be accompanied with a side dish or "contorno". After all those filling dishes will be the first dessert or "formaggio e frutta" which means cheese and fruits. This followed by the dessert or "dolce" that can include a cake or cookies. Finally, you have the "caffé" which serves the espresso and the "digestive" which serves any digestive to help aid digestion after the very long meal.
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