Italian food is very popular around the world. That’s why buying a franchise from a family pizza restaurant is such a lucrative investment. The funny thing about most Italian food chains is that they’re actually far removed from the dishes and cooking styles from Italy. Of course, there are some similarities, but a key to success in an Italian restaurant is to understand what it’s all about. Here are some of the most fun and fascinating facts that you should know about Italian food:
Italians don’t use garlic as much.
What’s one perfect partner for every pasta dish served? Garlic bread, right? Even different types of pasta tend to feature a lot of garlic. That’s why it’s very surprising for people when they learn that authentic Italian food doesn’t use much garlic, even in their bread. In fact, authentic Italian cuisine is more about combining different flavors, with not one being predominant over others.
Italians don’t like spaghetti and meatballs.
If someone asks what a signature Italian dish is, odds are that one of the most common answers you’re getting will be spaghetti and meatballs. What’s funny is that it isn’t even close to being authentically Italian—next to no pasta dishes in Italy even feature meat. That’s especially true for chicken, which isn’t very popular at all in Italy.
Bread isn’t an appetizer.
Many get used to Italian restaurants serving up a warm basket of bread with some butter as an appetizer. Given that, most diners finish up the bread even before the main course gets served. Italians would look at this practice with shock. Not only is bread not used an appetizer, but it’s eaten along with pasta and is used to “clean up” the dish after a meal.
Peperoni pizza is a vegetarian dish in Italy.
Sausage pepperoni is an American invention. In Italy, “peperoni”, which has a single P, is what they call bell peppers. That’s because many authentic Italian family pizza restaurants often serve the real deal, invariably healthier vegetarian fare. Pizza Margherita, for instance, mainly focuses on tomatoes and cheese more than anything else. This is one characteristic of pizzas from Italy.
Salads aren’t starters; they’re finishers.
In restaurants across the country, salads tend to be classified as starters—taken after appetizers but before the main course. Because Italians see these a means of aiding in digestion, salad is actually eaten alongside the main meal. While that might not be such a jarring fact, this might be: Italians are happy with just olive oil or vinegar as dressing—none of that Caesar or “Italian” dressing.
There’s no such thing as “wedding soup.”
Many people see this on the menu and assume that this dish from Naples is something served during a marriage of a loving couple. The name actually results from a mistranslation of the Italian “minestra maritata”, which talks about the coming together of vegetables and meat in a dish. It’s a very poetic name, for sure, but one that lends itself to misunderstanding.
There’s nothing wrong with Italian dishes that aren’t wholly authentic. They’re simply reinterpreted versions that are meant to meet the specific taste profiles of the country they’re adopted into. It just helps to know which type of Italian dishes you’re getting a franchise for. It makes it so much easier to market and sell when you do. Either way you go, Italian food is always going to draw in eager diners, which lends itself to higher profits.