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Bread Not Offered With Oil And Balsamic Vinegar

Discussion in 'Italian Food and Drink' started by ralmom101013, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Here in the states, when you go to an Italian restaurant, especially the big chain ones like Olive Garden and Polcari's, they always give you bread with either balsamic vinegar, oil, or both. I thought that this was an Italian custom (I'm still learning!), but I've recently read that in Italy, they do not actually serve bread with the oil and/or balsamic vinegar, unless it is a restaurant specifically catering to Americans.

    For those who have dined out in Italy a lot, did they offer you bread with oil and balsamic vinegar? I wouldn't mind either way, I just found it interesting that they make it seem like an Italian custom in America. It's sort of like Americanized Chinese Food. These things make you wonder how we alter customs around here.
     
  2. Cruets with oil and vinegar ( plain white vinegar more often than watered balsamico ) used to be at any restaurant's table in Italy as part of the furniture.

    Then in 2014 European Soviet Union banned restaurant cruets. Now you have to ask the waiter for oil and vinegar bottles.
     
    dStMars likes this.
  3. It depends whether you are North or South and in a rustic place or a commercial one. Usually there is butter and there is always oil, but they don't create dish of oil with balsamic for you in most places as people either do it themselves or don't use it.

    Here in the UK they do it, but most places leave the bottles for you to do yourself. Traditionally the bread is used to mop us the pasta sauce or for the soup.
     
  4. Huh, I read about the law mentioned by Hermann, and it seems that it's about having clear inscriptions on the olive oil. But the last time I dined out in Milan, the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and spicy olive oil I got were really all in refillable contenants, so it seems to beat the point.
     
  5. Hm, I've never heard of that? And I have never been given bread with olive oil at Olive Garden before? I've been given focaccia with olive oil before, at other restaurants.
     
  6. I have been to many Italian restaurants in the States and they usually offer some kind of bread with olive oil and balsamic. You would think that it is a part of Italian culture since most Italian restaurants in America seem to follow this pattern. However, I think they just came up with it because in the States, some sort of bread is always offered at the table of any restaurant.
     
  7. I also thought that was part of the Italian custom. Why do we turn things around so that we enjoy them? The bread is good so it doesn't always need the extra stuff. Things are great in their natural state. This is why we should all go to Italy and experience the true beauty of their food.
     
  8. um... but... are we talking of basket bread or maybe bruschetta appetizer ?..
     
  9. I always hard that serving olive oil with bread was an Italian tradition. Many Italians don't eat butter with their bread. A lot of true Italian restaurants will use various herbs in their oil served with bread too.
     
  10. One of the local Italian restaurants near me serves a basket of rolls *and* little squares of home made pizza as an appetizer before your entrees come out. Other local Italian joints (read: not the chain places) will sometimes serve some herb infused olive oil and some parmesan along with bread. You just pour the oil on to the plate and sprinkle on some cheese, and dip the bread in it. Another popular free appetizer they serve before meals are a bowl of hot peppers in oil (hot wax peppers that have been roasted and tossed with oregano, fresh garlic, sea salt and olive oil, and maybe a pinch of vinegar). These too are served with fresh bread. Sometimes with a little blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese to sprinkle on top.
     
  11. I remember the days when I lived in London (uk) and it was quite common when visiting an Italian restaurant. However, I don't remember ever being served this in Italy. Breadsticks are common at every table and if you are eating something other than a pizza then they will normally serve you a small basket of bread.

    Just the other day when eating out I had bruschetta with some oil (+garlic) but this was part of the fixed menu not something every restaurant provides. (Unless you request it)
     
  12. I have never experienced them serving any oil with the bread, but you normally find it as a staple on the table, including balsamic. Most people use this on Pizza or any of the Italian breads. I myself enjoy it with a little cheese, garlic and chilly. They serve these at the restaurants in my country.
     
  13. I've never eaten at any of the big chain Italian restaurants but, I've always had the bread served with some type of sweet or garlic butter. Now that I know about this I would really like to go to a restaurant that is as close to authentic as possible and ask for cruets with oil and vinegar available. Hermann inquired earlier in the post that before any other country imposed restrictions, this tradition was a fixture in Italian cuisine America is the land of the free, I don't think that anyone would be opposed to a unique custom such as this being practiced in restaurant across the states.
     
  14. When I was travelling in Italy years ago, I stayed with an older couple who offered me oil and vinegar and bread from the market. I'm not sure how traditional they were, but it seemed fairly similar to some of those Italian restaurant experiences. This is an interesting topic, I would like to hear more about this! :)
     
    PapyrusLovesSpaghetti likes this.
  15. Wow that is great to hear! What city of Italy were you in? I was in Bologna recently and had a lot of really authentic Spaghetti. I have overheard rumors that specific cities are well known for specific types of pasta! I am trying to find where to go for the BEST spaghetti as it is easily my favorite kind of Pasta.
     
  16. The city of spaghetti is Napoli, the town of Gragnano near napoli claims to produce the best spaghetti in Italy.
     
    PapyrusLovesSpaghetti likes this.
  17. Wow thanks for the TIP! I will definitely check it out next time i am in the area :D
     

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