This last weekend I spent my first few days here in Rome. It was quite a culture shock. I had tried to prepare myself for how different it would be, but it can be hard to truly understand a situation until you get there. One of the main parts of my trip to Rome was to try and learn about the culture especially the culinary culture for my culinary chemistry and Italian Culture class. I tried to take in everything around me especially the food (there was lots of eating those first few days). I noticed how different the atmosphere is when going to restaurant in Italy compared to America. In Rome most restaurants will have someone standing outside of it trying to get you to eat there. I had never really experienced walking by a row of many restaurants and each one trying to get you to eat there. At first I found to hard to say no thanks, but by day three I was much better at just walking past without feeling bad. I have also picked up some interesting things that happen while eating at Italian restaurants. One interesting way that the restaurants work is that you always have to ask for the check. Unlike in America where a waiter continues to check on you, in Italy the server only really takes your order and brings you the check. In Italy tips are not expected like in America, so servers are not as worried about turning over tables as to make more tips. It took a little to get used to not being checked on and asking for the check, but I liked the mentality that once we sat the table the table was “ours” for as long as we wanted.
Before I left for Italy one of my friends who has gone to Italy many times told me that I had try this orange drink that is very popular in Italy when I went. When I got to Italy I started noticing the drink quite often on tables as I would pass by. With some research I was able to find out that this drink is called an aperol spritz. I learned that an aperol spritz is served as an aperitif. I had seen the word “aperitif” all over rome since I had arrived, but I had no clue what it meant. With the help of google I learned that an aperitif is a drink that is usually served before a meal to help stimulate appetite. Having an aperitif like an aperol spritz is supposed to help encourage you to feel hungry, so that you can fully enjoy your meal. After hearing about it so much, my friends and I decided to order an aperol spritz for ourselves. The drink was definitely different. An aperol spritz is usually made with prosecco and aperol which is a liquor. I was very excited that the drink had ice in it since it was my first drink since I had gotten to Italy that had ice (I have always loved lots of ice in my water). It tasted very orangey, but was also quite dry. Now that I have settled in Arezzo I look forward to experiencing more of the Italian culinary culture (whenever I’m not constantly studying ochem).