Prior to visiting Italy, I was told that no matter where I decided to dine, I would never have a bad meal. I am glad to say that I absolutely agree with that statement and that tells a lot about Italian food culture and how it integrates with their everyday lifestyle. Nutrition is certainly an important aspect of one`s well-being as noted by UN`s SDG goals and Florentines` lifestyle definitely contributes to its outcomes.
In Florence and Italy in general, having a meal is more of a social activity rather than a need. While walking around the streets of Florence, I don’t think I have ever seen people eating while on the road or drive-thru fast food chains. Italians take a lot of pride in the meals that they prepare and they want to share that experience with their friends and family. The service in restaurants is not rushed and the waiters will not bring the check until the customers ask so, which allows them to take as much time as they want to fully enjoy their meal and catch up with their friends or relatives. Most restaurants use their own homemade dairy products, oil, and wine, and the difference in taste can be easily noted. While on this trip, except for trying different dishes in various restaurants, I also had the chance to take a cooking class; I learned how to make ravioli and pana cotta. One could easily understand how attentive to details the cook was, how particular she was about choosing healthy ingredients, and how she could easily get upset if one slightly tried to deviate from her directions. She took a lot of pride on those homemade dishes and I imagine most Italians would feel the same way. However, I would lie if I said that I have only had healthy food during the past week. Having a gelato or a cannoli by the Duomo is my everyday evening treat and I refuse to deprive myself of it, regardless of how healthy it is.