This post was contributed by Alisha Duckworth.
Your first time abroad can bring about major culture shock. The things we have in the USA won’t always be the same overseas. FYI: Know that food and drinks are adjusted to the taste of the people of the country. Not everything is as it seems. So that your next trip to MY second home is as amazing as it should be, I’m giving you a rundown of 8 authentic Italian finds that aren’t as they seem compared to what they are in the USA.
Being a barista myself, the most common mistake people from the USA are prone to make when ordering is not knowing the difference between a macchiato and a latte. And it’s not your fault, it’s not. We can all give a big round of applause to Starbucks for this one. If you’re looking for that Starbucks Macchiato when abroad, order a latte instead. In Venice, I watched an American lady argue back and forth with an Italian barista about how he made her macchiato wrong. Like how are you telling him that he’s wrong? Don’t be that person!
A lot of people claim they LOVE Italian food and one of their favorite things about Italian food is pizza. Unfortunately for you my pizza lovers, if the only pizza you have had was in the States, chances are you haven’t had genuine Italian pizza.
Italian pizza is light on the tomato sauce, light on the cheese, and is NOT sliced for you already. In fact, you are expected to cut the pizza with knife and fork (a struggle I have yet to overcome). And NO you can not customize your pizza like it’s Domino’s. On another note, crust thickness is subject to the region in Italy. For example, pizza in Rome will have a thinner crust, while pizza in Sicily will have a thicker crust.
Don’t expect it. Pepperoni pizza is not a thing. The first time I went to Italy, I ordered a pepperoni pizza from a restaurant and the waitress brought out a cheese pizza with peppers on it. Huh?! So, for years I thought authentic Italian pizza was just not my slice of pie. Until a 19-year-old me returned and had a €3,50 pizza from the carry-out. Life changing. However, if you want meat on your pizza go with the pizza con salsicce (sausage pizza) or the pizza con prosciutto (prosciutto pizza). #nomnom
When you look up and see Il Bar plastered onto the side of the building, don’t expect beer, music, cocktails, nightlife. Il bar is what we know to be a coffee shop or a cafe. You can find liquor in these coffee shops and light music, but it’s probably not the idea you had in your head when you planned to drop down and get ya’ eagle on.
Oh. Em. Gee! I LOVE hot chocolate and quite frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. On a cold winter day, I’m all game for some rich, chocolatey, hot chocolate. I ordered one once and ONLY once. I won’t lie, I was emotionally hurt. It was indescribably thick and tasteless, even 2 packs of sugar couldn’t fix it. I’m a firm believer in trying new things, but that just wasn’t it. If you know of a good place to get some good hot cocoa in Italy, please drop some suggestions in the comments.
You walk into a cafe and see a seemingly delicious and savory croissant calling your name. Depending on how you like your croissants, don’t be fooled. A cornetto is a croissant. However, a croissant is savory and a cornetto is sweet. There’s a slightly sweet glaze on top. Know before you go.
Being a lover of all things ice cream, gelato and ice cream are NOT the same. period. Gelato is gelato and ice cream is ice cream. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Gelato is more real – real fruit, real colors, real flavors, REAL GOOD.
A complete switcheroo. Fanta in Italy is not the orange soda we all know it to be, but it is still good. Produced by the same company, a bottle or can of Fanta will be aranciata. If you’ve never had San Pellegrino’s aranciata, think: a sparkling orange juice.
Eccolo, the most common misinterpretations of Italian food, explained. You’re ready for your trip. Buon viaggio!
Meet Alisha: Hey! My name is Alisha. I am from the Washington, DC area. I am a 22-year-old frugal flyer. I’ve visited 19 countries and 21 states and am a repetitive travel offender. Keep up with me on IG.