How to create the best Italian dinner experience
With rich sauces, homemade pasta, a variety of delicious meats and – of course – full-bodied wine, it’s no wonder that in Italy, eating is an experience.
The Italians are well known for their love of good food, long, leisurely meals and to-die-for wines and they have a special way of celebrating every moment because la vita è bella (life is beautiful)! When it comes to dining and spending time with family, they have mastered the art of gorgeous table settings, mouth-watering meals and bringing joy to every occasion.
Everyone loves Italian food and there is nothing quite like a good home-made pasta. Instead of dining out for your next get together, why not take inspiration from our friends in the Mediterranean and create your own Italian dinner at home?
Invite family and friends over to experience a taste of Italy and welcome them into a world of aromas and bright colours. Fill them up with these Italian dinner menu ideas and throw in some Italian phrases for an authentic evening.
Here are some simple steps on how to plan an Italian evening to remember!
Set the scene
As we head into summer, why not create an outdoor Italian evening in your garden? Use a rustic wooden table and some glow lights to create an alfresco dining atmosphere. For cooler evenings, bring the outdoors in, with fresh flowers and soft candlelight.
Tips to set the scene
- Create a rustic table setting using natural placemats and a simple tablecloth
- Potted rosemary and bunches of sunflowers in colourful vases are a great way to decorate the table
- Place bowls of olives around the table for extra decoration and a tasty snack for guests to enjoy
- It wouldn’t be an Italian dinner party without olive oil and balsamic vinegar – place these in beautiful pourers and serve with fresh bread on a serving board
- Light some candles and play some classic Italian songs in the background to set the mood
- To allow your favourite Chianti wine to breath, use a decanter and let it linger for a while. Pour into wine goblets and sip away
- Buon appetito – enjoy your meal
- Mangiamo – Let’s eat!
- è delizioso – this is delicious!
- Mamma Mia – goodness me!
An Italian meal is most enjoyable when eaten slow, to savour every mouthful. Serve dishes at leisure and enjoy a long evening of conversations with friends.
A bottle of wine and a delicious antipasto – some things are made for sharing. A traditional Italian starter, an antipasto typically includes cured meats, salty parmesan and savoury pickles, but you can add any snacky bits to it you like. If you’re not so into the meat, try a decadent Italian cheese board of Gorgonzola, Ricotta and Mozzarella as a tasty appetizer to enjoy with guests.
From a simple pomodoro sauce, to rich ossobuco or a crowd favourite like chicken parmigiana, there are plenty of Italian entrées to choose from. If you are feeling inspired, you can try your hand at home-made pasta using a pasta machine or make a Margarita pizza and serve with a side salad. We have a great pizza dough recipe that will work wonders. Simply place the dough on a pizza stone, add some tantalizing toppings and cook to perfection.
For a sweet treat, prepare an Italian favourite such as a Tiramisu or classic gelato. Serve in bright blue bowls. If you are full to the brim, an espresso with some biscotti always goes down well, drank fast and accompanied with some leisurely conversation.
After dinner, treat your guests to some Limoncello – a tasty Italian digestive drink.
And to top it off, here are some simple phrases to make your meal sound oh so authentic…