Updated: Apr 17, 2019
Planning your Itinerary would not be complete if you did not think about what you were going to eat. Don’t over plan your eating and rather ask the place where you are staying for their recommendations. When travelling try to immerse yourself in the local flavours and as far as possible try to eat what the locals eat, so that you may experience the country you are visiting in the fullest. This article favours Italian food and many references are based on Italian food culture.
Continental, English or American? What is the difference anyway? A “continental breakfast” is a lighter meal served in continental Europe, as opposed to the “full” English breakfast. Continental breakfast is traditionally coffee and pastries, but over the years hotels have started to include croissants, toast and condiments, pastries, fruit, juice, yoghurt, cereals, beverages, cold meats, a selection of cheeses and possibly eggs.
The full English breakfast includes bacon (traditionally back bacon), fried, poached or scrambled eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or buttered toast, and sausages (also called “bangers”). Black pudding, baked beans and bubble and squeak are also often included.
The American breakfast usually includes two eggs (fried or poached), sliced bacon or sausages, sliced bread or toast with jam/jelly/butter, pancakes with syrup, cornflakes or other cereal, coffee/tea, orange/grapefruit juice. Hashbrowns can also be included.
Many hotels offer breakfast included in the price and this is normally a good deal. You will find that hotels offering breakfast as an additional charge are normally expensive and you will usually get a better breakfast deal at a coffee shop or you may even want to have brunch instead.
If you really want to spend a lot of your money quickly, you can always try room service breakfast where almost every item will have a separate charge.
There are two main ideas when it comes to lunch, either you had a breakfast that was included in your hotel bill and you had a substantial breakfast and a small snack is all you need at lunchtime or you have opted for a brunch option.
The options are numerous and searching Google by simply entering words like ‘Budget meals’, ‘Local average’ or ‘fine dining’ you will quickly find a range of options close to you.
However, if you really looking for a great lunch you can stalk the locals and follow them to lunch. No need to actually stalk them, you can simply ask the local people in shops and banks where they eat and they will gladly recommend their favourite lunchtime spot – these places are usually two or three blocks from the main tourist areas and they serve a limited menu or special of the day. You can be sure that if you manage to find these gems, your experience will be truly authentic.
Alternative options are going for a local food and wine tasting tour. You will get to experience local flavours that you may have otherwise missed.
Dinner is a vibrant time when the whole family gets together and this tradition is still followed in Italy. It is a time of sharing and dinners can easily go on until midnight. What you will discover is that meals are never rushed in Italy. Restaurants will not try to get you out and try put someone else at your table unless they only cater to tourists. Try avoiding these tourist trap restaurants as far as possible.
When choosing a restaurant and if you want to be sure it is authentic Italian, you can simply look at there menu online. You may see items like meatballs, garlic bread, or spaghetti featured in every dish or pasta as a side dish. If you see photos and the Caprese salad has balsamic vinegar on it, the sauce is on top of the pasta and cappuccinos are served with dessert, don’t waste your money – these are not authentic Italian restaurants – rather stay at home and go to your local restaurant.
Let your food experiences be an adventure, just like the rest of your travels. Ask the restaurant if they have a tasting menu, or if there is a group of you, order different items and share the meal amongst yourselves. This way you will learn new things and experience tastes that would never have been possible by ordering the popular items on the menu.
Other ways of having unique experiences and discovering new tastes are to look for families that offer meals in their homes. This way you can really get to discover the way the locals dine.
Thank you for taking this culinary journey with me, in Part 5 I will cover Drinks and Snacks, including street food and markets.
Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure this series of posts will give you the necessary guidelines and assist you in finding the easiest and most cost-effective way of booking and planning your itinerary.
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