Breakfast like the Italians!

The word “breakfast” in Italian is “colazione” and, if you’ve visited Italy, you may have noticed that the traditional Italian breakfast is quite different to other countries. At breakfast, Italians will typically have a milky coffee (caffè e latte or cappuccino) with rusk-like cookies (called fette biscottate) or biscuits, or they may have sweet bread with jam. In fact, it is not common for Italians to have lattes or cappuccinos at any other time of the day other than breakfast, which may account for why you get a strange look when ordering these in Italian bars or cafes in the afternoon – it would be a little like a tourist in the UK ordering cornflakes for lunch.

While the adults indulge in coffee, children will usually have hot chocolate or plain milk with their biscuits. Although this style of breakfast is seen as traditional, breakfast cereals, fruit salad (known as “macedonia” in Italian), and muesli and yogurt are becoming increasingly popular for Italians eating breakfast at home. Meanwhile, if breakfast is taken at a bar, then a pastry (or a “cornetto” in Italian) is still usually enjoyed with a cappuccino.

I’m sure you’re thinking that this sort of breakfast would be unlikely to set you up for the day and this is why it is fairly common for Italians to have a quick breakfast snack during the middle of the morning, which is usually a small sandwich or bread roll.

All this being said, the traditional breakfast in Italy does vary with the region and also with the season so you may find other foods on the menu depending on when and where you visit – for example, people in the Chianti region of Tuscany apparently used to dip their biscuits in red wine at breakfast!

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