Pizza is a serious matter for Italians. Not only do they have it as a whole meal, but they eat it often, either at some of the best restaurants in the country or at home. According to a recent survey, over 50% of Italians said that pizza is their favorite food. Moreover, 39% said that eating pizza is emotionally satisfying for them, which is likely the reason why individuals indulge in this food as often as they can. Italians are also quite particular when it comes to eating pizza, and there are things that you need to know if you’re looking to enjoy this treat like a local. Here’s a guide on how to eat pizza like a true Italian.
Mind Your Manners
Traditional Italian etiquette dictates that just like most dishes, pizza should always be eaten with a knife and a fork. One reason for this is because unlike western-style pizza, Italian pizzas served in restaurants are quite thin and somewhat delicate in the middle, so eating with your hands may result in toppings spilling all over the table or your lap. The pizzas also come out unsliced, so you’ll need to do your own slicing. However, if you’re getting a pizza slice from a small shop or a food truck, it’s possible that you won’t get any utensils to eat it with, so eating with your hands is acceptable in this case.
In Italy, each person usually orders a whole pizza for themselves, and they usually don’t share. Another thing that you should remember is to never ask for condiments for your pizza as this is considered to be an insult to the chef. Each pizza is created with exactly the right amount of ingredients for the best flavour, so resist the temptation to add hot sauce, parmesan cheese, or ketchup. As for what to drink with it, go for beer, sparkling water, or any carbonated beverage.
Choose Margherita Pizza
Major cities like Chicago and Seoul have become famous for their creative takes on pizza, with the former known for its deep dish pizza, while the South Korean city is waking waves for creations such as sweet potato and bulgogi cheese pizza. But in Italy, the locals swear by Margherita pizza. Whether cooked in a wood burning oven or grilled in a pellet smoker to impart a smoky flavour to the dish, most Italians will insist that an authentic Margherita pizza should only have three ingredients– tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese, with only a little salt and a scant drizzle of olive oil to add some flavour.
For Italians, less is definitely more when it comes to pizza since having fewer toppings means that the freshness of each ingredient shines through. If you’d rather have pizza without dairy, order a pizza rossa, and you’ll likely get a tomato, oregano, and garlic pizza. Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of seafood, get a Frutti di Mare, which is a pizza topped with shrimp and mussels on top of a thin layer of tomato sauce.
Get the Right Side Dishes
In some countries, it’s customary to eat pizza with a salad. However, Italians typically eat pizza with no other food, or they order deep fried rice balls stuffed with cheese and tomatoes as a side dish. Also, Italian restaurants don’t serve garlic bread with their pizza. They may serve it as an appetizer though in the form of bruschetta, so you can expect to have a hot bruschetta with chopped tomatoes and olive oil before getting a pizza as your main dish.
When it comes to eating pizza, do as the Italians do. Consider these tips to eat pizza like a local and enjoy good food when dining in Italy.