I always get going when anyone asks for a lemon peel with their espresso or worse offers me one.
This is part of these American habits some know why it started (originally the coffee available in the US for this strong cup of Java was not bitter enough), few could explain why it is still done.
In many countries including Europe, there are strong feelings as to what is proper and not to eat, drink and do with each type of meal.
Adrian Michaels expresses that perfectly in Vongole? Hold the Cheese on Etiquette the Italian Way in today's Global Traveler (Financial Times).
British custom of ordering cappuccino, or the American way of ordering it anytime of the day is anathema to Italians.
It would classify you as what Adrian Michaels calls an Oik (crude, nitwit).
Cappuccino is Breakfast only.
Thanks to the piece, I learned that arrivederci is better used upon leaving (than ciao) if you do not know the other party well.
A certain formality also extends to the way you address your interlocutor so knowing their 'title' matters.
Dressing the part and complementing others on their appearance goes down well.
Clean shoes are a must.
As for a Parmesan cheese on risotto or pasta with fish or seafood, the article quotes this real life event: "I know someone who ordered spaghetti alle vongole [clams]," says one Milanese businessman. "It arrived, he put parmesan on it and the rest of the table made him send it back and order another."
Only wine or water are considered should be ordered with you meal except for beer with pizza. Do not order Pizza for Lunch though, Dinner only.
These useful tips in Adrian Michaels piece will surely prevent turning an Italian business trip or a Roman holiday into a fiasco.
As a bonus check this Spaghetti Alla Vongole Recipe from the BBC Food Section.
Il Fine for Monday Work Etiquette #12
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