Last updated: 12:15 PM ET, Fri November 04 2016

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  • Art Kramer | November 4, 2016 12:15 PM ET

    The Truth About 10 ‘Italian’ Cuisine Items

    The Truth About 10 ‘Italian’ Cuisine Items

    Photo courtesy of Collette

    Authenticity is central to Collette’s cuisine itineraries in Italy. What this means is real Italian dishes will be served at these restaurants — something that might cause some culture shock for those expecting spaghetti and meatballs or pepperoni pizza. As Collette says, “some foods (especially Italian-American) make Italians want to cry. They take their food very seriously and it hurts them to see what others have done with their great, great, great grandmother’s recipes.”

    So embrace the multifaceted deliciousness of real Italian food and don’t believe the myths.

    Marinara sauce

    The only time this shows up in Italy is in a dish with shellfish or olives.

    Pepperoni pizza

    Pepperoni is nowhere to be found on the Italian thin-crust creations. However, one will find thinly sliced potato, anchovies, sausages, prosciutto, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, broccoli rabe and mozzarella.

    Garlic bread

    Plain bread with olive oil is the most prevalent in Italy. Bruschetta is actually the closest thing to garlic bread — an able substitute.

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    Spaghetti and meatballs

    These iconic cuisine items belong in two different courses, so they aren’t served together. Sorry.

    Italian salad dressing

    This does not exist in Italy, salads are dressed simply with olive oil, vinegar (balsamic sometimes), salt and sometimes pepper.

    Chicken Parmesan

    Eggplant is the only food item that is prepared parm-style, nothing else.

    Fettuccini Alfredo

    Fettuccine al burro (made with butter and cheese) is the closest dish to Fettucine Alfredo in Italy and it is far lighter than the heavily-dressed American cousin.

    No chicken on pasta

    Another case of combining two food items that are separate in traditional Italian cuisine. Chunks of fish over pasta is common, however.

    Rainbow cookies

    Created by immigrants to look like the Italian flag. Not found in Italy.


    Too decadent for Italian palates and not authentic. Go for cannoli, fruit tarts or pineapple to finish the meal. 

    For more on real and not-so-real Italian cuisine, visit Collette’s blog.

More Collette, Italy


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Art Kramer Traveling Well

Art is a veteran travel writer.
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