Food & Wine| Wine and Food guide
What to expect when eating in Italy
Eating out in Tuscany - the insiders view
Here you will find the way the Italians order and eat their delicious courses of food
A weekday lunch will begin with a primo (first course), a deep-dish plate of soup, risotto, or pasta of one sort or another. The serving size is about a cup, or perhaps slightly more, and is not intended to be a full meal. In restaurant meals or festive dinners there may be several first courses, for example a risotto, a pasta dish, and ravioli, but their total volume will still be about a cup. This is called an assaggio di primi, a sampling of firsts.
The primo will be followed by a secondo, a fish, meat, egg or vegetable-based main course with a side dish. Portions are smaller about 125 grammes of the second course, plus a serving of the side dish, and bread. On festive occasions there may be more than one secondo. Lunch will usually close with fresh fruit and coffee.
The meal is extremely balanced with carbohydrates from the first course and the bread, proteins from the first and second courses, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and the fruit.
A festive meal will be a bit more elaborate with more antipast and there will be in addition to fruit, cheese and some sort of dessert, either pastries or a cake.
In all cases there will also be wine.