In Italy, Breakfast Is Often A Cappuccino And A Sweet Bite

Every country has its own set of cultural rules that it follows, especially when it comes to meal times. Food is arguably the most delicious and diverse aspect of our nation-states, and breaking a people's food and dining rules might lead to some disapproving looks and a lack of invitations to your next brunch. For example, in South Korea, it is considered deeply disrespectful to dig into meals before your elders. In India, you try to eat only with your right hand, and in Ireland, you better join in on buying a round for your friends, or you may be left out from nights on the town (via First We Feast).

Additionally, there are just some foods that are traditional for breakfast. In England, beans on toast are essential, and in Mexico, chilaquiles are the norm. In Italy, though, breakfasts are a bit sweeter. Not every country begins its day with a big hearty meal; some culinary practices dictate that lunch or dinner be the largest, most fulfilling meal of the day, so breakfast is simply a yummy snack to tide you over. This is the case in Italy.

Sweets are the ideal breakfast snack

According to Ciao Florence, dinner is the most important meal of the day for Italian families because it is often when everyone comes together for a communal meal. Most everyone eats a full lunch as well, so breakfast is a little more relaxed in its approach. That is why Food & Wine says that, in the Mediterranean country, breakfast usually consists of coffee (a cappuccino is strictly a breakfast beverage) along with a sweet pastry like the maritozzo, sfogliatella, or brioche. One of the most popular breakfast pastries is the cornetto.

Like the croissant, the cornetto originated from the Austrian pastry kipferl. The cornetto "little horn" is laminated and shaped into a crescent moon but is often filled with some variation of jam, Nutella, honey, and even gelato (via The Roman Food Tour). The cornetto is much sweeter than the more savory croissant and pairs perfectly with the bitter bite of a coffee. It is traditional to start your day off sweet in Italy (though in the north, you might find things a little more on the savory side with a plate of cheese and meat), but don't worry, the people aren't gorging themselves on sweets every morning. Rossi Writes claims that portion sizes in Italy are very small and intended to give you a little burst of energy to start your day.