5 common misconceptions about Italian food


1) Pepperoni Pizza

The real original pizza is the pizza Margherita, named after the Queen Margherita visiting Naples in 1889. This pizza was created by a pizzaiolo called Esposito and his wife and it represents the colours of the Italian flag. With time, many variations became part of the Italian pizza history, but never pizza pepperoni. Actually, peperoni spelled with one p means peppers and not spicy salame.

2) Spaghetti with meat balls

Seriously? I had never heard of pasta with meatballs in all the life spent in Italy. It was a bit of a shock when I realised that. Meatballs which have the size of marble balls are usually eaten on their own and only in the South in regions such as Puglia, Calabria and Sicily they are put in between pasta layers and baked. So NO to spaghetti or fettuccine with meatballs.

3) Pasta alla carbonara with cream


Cream on Carbonara? You ask a chef in Italy and they will look at you like an alien. It will sound like a blasphemy even. The original carbonara is made with eggs, pecorino cheese and guanciale (pork lard), the only exception which became common nowadays is eggs, parmesan and pancetta. That is it folks! Anyhow doesn’t it look a bit pale and sad with cream?

4) Pasta Bolognese

pasta al ragu

This is the first dish I could not understand when I arrived in London. As soon as I said I came from Italy, people will tell me straight away: pizza, pasta bolognese. Pasta bolognese? What the heck was that? It took me a little while to realise they talked about pasta al ragu’ (minced meat in tomato sauce). Even though people in London became more familiar with the Italian food, this myth is still going around. I hope one day it will be named by its original name.

5) Latte


It would be amusing to see one’s face when they ask for latte and the get a weird glimpse and eventually are presented with a glass of plain cold milk. What you really want to ask in Italy is caffelatte. Usually is an alternative to cappuccino and it is drunk in the morning not at the end of main meals. In fact, you could order un espresso or espresso macchiato (with a bit of milk) after meals.


Raffaella Palumbo

Passionate about languages & good food. I hold a Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions and the CLTA teaching certificate. My hobby is chasing the sun around the globe. My favourite quote: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way” (Frank Smith)

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Ivy Baker

    Wow, this is some really surprising information about Italian cuisine. I liked that you talked about spaghetti and meatballs. It is funny that meatballs are normally eaten on there own.

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