How Not to Overeat at an Italian Long Lunch

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Mar 23, 2017

Brought to you by Fratelli Fresh

The key to a long lunch is to indulge without overdoing it – quite the feat when there are plates of fettuccine tangled in a rich tomato sauce and pizza oozing with melted mozzarella. Follow these tips to experience the perfect Italian long lunch.

Consider the courses

Long lunches are ideal for sharing. “It’s like an extension of the Italian family table,” says John Sullivan, national general manager of Fratelli Fresh. “Having just a little bit of everything, passing plates around the table is what it’s all about.” You could order three courses, although Sullivan advises the magic number for a lazy three-hour lunch is four: antipasti of cheeses, fried zucchini flowers, salumi and other morsels; pizza, definitely a margherita; primi, the pasta course; and ending with dolce, dessert. Leave at least 10-15 minutes between each course, though nibbling at your antipasti will likely take longer. 

Order wisely

For a long lunch for two people, Sullivan suggests ordering two or three antipasti dishes, one pasta and main to share with an Italian rocket and Parmesan salad (or side salad you prefer). Apply this formula according to the number of guests at your table.

Eat seasonally

It makes sense: baked fish and crunchy salads are the ideal light fare in summer; when the weather turns colder, rich sauces made with slow-cooked meats are the comfort food you need. The autumn menu at Fratelli Fresh features seasonal dishes that suit a cosy afternoon indoors, such as duck pappardelle sprinkled with shaved bitter chocolate and creamy risotto swirled with butternut squash, scallops and fresh herbs.

What to drink

After starting the meal with a negroni, Sullivan says the easiest rule is to pair red wines with rich, hearty meals and whites with lighter dishes. He recommends a carafe, rather than ordering by the glass, to enhance the group-sharing atmosphere. Add a round of liqueurs with an espresso, or sip on a tiny glass of limoncello to cleanse the palate, before the delicious finale.

Don’t forget dessert

This is the one course that’s not for sharing, although, if you insist on generosity, the Fratelli Fresh banoffee pie or tiramisu can be attacked with more than one spoon. To indulge without falling into a 4pm food coma, order a scoop or three of house-made gelato.