Italian restaurants frequently offer "vino della casa," house wine. This typically refers to an economical bulk wine selected by the restaurant owner from among various labels that is not listed on the menu.
Ordering wine in Italy doesn't need to be daunting if you understand the basics. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks for making ordering your next bottle easy!
If you want to know how to order wine or beer in Italian, forget about "small", "medium", and "large". Instead, it will help if you know the words for vino (wine) and birra (beer).
Italians also do not distinguish between white and red wines, serving either Pinot Grigio or Vermentino for light-bodied white wines; when serving pasta with tomato-based sauces opt for young white wines like Bardolino or Lambrusco; for red meat dishes go for full-bodied Italian reds like Barolo or Brunello for maximum enjoyment.
Italians enjoy drinking digestivi after meals to aid with digestion. These strong liquors, known as digestivi, can be served either neat or mixed with ice and fruit for maximum efficiency. Limoncello is among the more well-known digestivi available here but there are many others too! Learning Italian food phrases will not only make life simpler for any visit or live-in experience but it will make the trip all the more fun - plus our Intrepid Guide contains affiliate links which support our work!
Italian for "glass or cup" is un bicchiere, while for wine glasses 'bicchiere di vino" would apply, while for milk glasses use "bicchiere di latte".
Many casual restaurants like trattorias and osterias in Italy will provide their own house wine, often discounted compared to what is listed on the menu. To order this beverage simply ask for vino della casa.
Macchiato, commonly pronounced MAK -YA -TO, refers to milk stained with coffee. If you would like a glass, please ask for un bicchiere d'acqua, per favore. Acqua is often used as an interjection like Arriverci or Ciao would be; using it instead as a way of showing appreciation may be less formal than saying thank you many times!
Italy is well known for its love of beer; draft beers are known as una birra alla spina while bottle versions are called una birra in bottiglia. Medium beers are known as media while larger bottles are called grande.
Small Italian bars often only employ a handful of bartenders and so you must order your drinks first at the bar, then go directly to the cashier to pay.
Be sure to ask for the wine list when arriving at a restaurant or bar, and remember that glasses should only be filled to halfway point; this will prevent the wine from going flat too quickly!
Aperitivo is an evening ritual to relax, socialize and prepare both palate and stomach for dinner. This usually takes place around 6 or 7 pm (Italian happy hour usually starts later - at 8 pm typically).
Wine drinking in Italy might seem intimidating at first glance, but is actually quite egalitarian - most people drink wine and there are many other varieties available if spritzies don't strike your fancy.
When ordering an aperitivo, it's essential to understand that food may be included with your order - this may come served buffet style or brought directly to your table with drinks. In either instance, be sure to communicate to your server whether you prefer something lighter or heavier in terms of taste as this can make the difference between something you enjoy or one which disappoints you.