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Food names in Italian

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Food (il cibo) is one of the most meaningful aspects of Italian culture.

List of food in Italian

Let's start with an overview on Italian food.

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Meat and seafood in Italian (chicken, saumon,...)

In the following table you'll find the main kinds of meat (la carne).

la bisteccathe steak
il pollothe chicken
il maialethe pork
l'arrostothe roast
lo stufatothe stew
le costolettethe ribs
le polpettethe meatballs
la salsicciathe sausage
il prosciutto cottothe cooked ham
il prosciutto crudothe raw ham
la pancettathe bacon
il salamethe salami

In the following table you'll find the main kinds of seafood (il pesce/ i frutti di mare).

il pescethe fish
il merluzzothe cod
il tonnothe tuna
l'acciugathe anchovy
il polpothe octopus
il gambero   the shrimp   
il gamberettothe little shrimp
il calamarothe squid
l'aragostathe lobster
l'ostricathe oyster
la vongolathe clam
la cozzathe mussel
il salmonethe saumon
la trotathe trout
la sardinathe sardine

Vegetables in Italian (tomato, carrot,...)

In the following table you'll find the main kinds of vegetables (le verdure).

il pomodoro      the tomato
la carotathe carrot
la lattugathe lettuce       
l'insalatathe salad
il carciofothe artichoke
il cavolothe cabbage
il cavolfiorethe cauliflower
la melanzanathe eggplant
la zucchinathe zucchini
il peperonethe pepper
il peperoncinothe chili pepper
il cetriolothe cucumber
la zuccathe pumpkin
l'agliothe garlic
la cipollathe onion
la patatathe potato
i fagioli the beans
i fagiolinithe green beans
i pisellithe peas
i funghithe mushrooms

Fruit in Italian (apple, pear,...)

In the following table you'll find the main kinds of fruit (la frutta).

enlightenedBe careful!
"Il frutto" is one singular unit of fruit (the fruit)," i frutti" are more than one frutto (the fruits), "la frutta" is a part of the meal or a category among food.

la melathe apple
l'aranciathe orange
il limonethe lemon
la perathe pear
l'uvathe grapes     
la pescathe peach
l'albicoccathe apricot
la fragolathe strawberry
il mirtillothe blueberry
la morathe blackberry
la ciliegiathe cherry
l'ananas the pineapple
il melonethe melon
l'anguriathe watermelon

Dessert in Italian (chocolate, cake,...)

In the following table you'll find the main desserts (i dolci).

il dolcethe dessert
il cioccolatothe chocolate
la tortathe cake
la crostata the pie
il gelatothe ice cream      
la pannathe cream
la panna montatathe whipped cream
la crema pasticcerathe custard

Another typical Italian dessert are:

  • Tiramisù (a coffee-flavoured dessert made up of eggs, biscuits, mascarpone and cocoa)
  • Cannolo (a small treat hailing from Sicily, consisting of a tube of toasted pastry filled with ricotta cheese)
  • Cassata (a small cake covered with flavoured icing and filled with ricotta and chocolate)
  • Panettone (the Italian Christmas dessert by definition, it is a large and sweet bread, yeasted for several days, with raisins and candied fruit)
  • Pannacotta (a sweetened, solid cream flavoured with syrups)

Meals in Italian (breakfast, dinner,...)

The most important Italian meals are breakfast (la colazione), lunch (il pranzo) e dinner (la cena).
Especially among kids, it's also common to have a snack (la merenda).

Some expression that can be useful in this context are to be hungry that translates as avere fame and to be thirsty that translates as avere sete.

enlightenedBe careful! To express the need of eating/drinking:
                          In English verb to be + adjective vs. in Italian verb to have + noun

Breakfast in Italian 

Breakfast is eaten right after waking up and usually involves:

Italian  English
il lattethe milk
i cereali    the cereals
il cornettothe croissant
la marmellata   the jam   
i biscottithe biscuits
il burrothe butter
le fette biscottatethe crisp bread
il téthe tea
il cafféthe coffee
la cioccolata caldathe hot chocolate
lo zuccherothe sugar
il mielethe honey
il succo di fruttathe fruit juice
la fruttathe fruit
la nutellathe nutella

As you can see, Italian breakfast is usually based on sweet food.

Lunch and dinner in Italian

Lunch is eaten from 12 am or 2 pm while dinner is usually eaten from 7.30 pm to 9 pm. 
The most typical Italian food of these meals are la pasta, la pasta al forno/le lasagne and la pizza.
In the following table you'll find some other vocabs about food eaten and used during lunch and dinner.

il panethe bread
il risothe rice
il sugothe tomato sauce
l'arrosto        the roasted meat
la zuppathe soup
il formaggiothe cheese
le uova the eggs
l'acetothe vinegar
l'olio d'olivathe olive oil
il prezzemolothe parsley
il rosmarinothe rosemary
il basilicothe basil
il maionesethe mayonnaise
il salethe salt
il pepethe black pepper

Snack in Italian

Snack, very common among kids (but not only among them) when they come back from school, is usually eaten around 4 or 5 pm.
In the following table you'll find some other vocabs about food eaten and used during snack.

le patatinechips
i popcornpopcorns
i biscottibiscuits
la tortacake
il succofruit juice
le bibitesoft drinks
il budinopudding
la pizza e la focacciapizza and focaccia
il paninosandwich

Drinks in Italian (wine, beer,...)

In the following table you'll find some vocabs about the main drinks (le bevande).

l'acqua naturalethe still water
l'acqua frizzantethe sparkling water
l'aranciata  the orange juice
la limonatathe lemon juice
il vinothe wine
la birrathe beer
il liquorethe liqueur

Italian wines and liqueurs

Italy is one of the leading wine-producing countries in the world.
Some of the most famous and appreciated wines are:

  • Primitivo
  • Nebbiolo
  • Barolo
  • Chianti
  • Montepulciano 
  • Lambrusco

White, sparkling sweet wine is called spumante, commonly drank on special occasions such as celebrations and informal events.

After big meals, sometimes Italian people drink some liqueurs called digestivi.
The most known are: 

  • Amaro
  • Amaretto
  • Grappa
  • Limoncello
  • Sambuca

Daily dialogues

Take a look at the following dialogue about food.

AnnaPer colazione, prima di andare al lavoro, bevo sempre il té con latte e biscottiFor breakfast, before going to work, I always drink tea with milk and biscuits
SaraIo non mangio tanto a colazione, preferisco mangiare una mela o bere un succo verso le 10I don't eat a lot at breakfast, I prefer eating an apple or drink some juice around 10 am
AnnaE a pranzo? Preferisci la pasta o il riso?And at lunch? Do you prefer pasta or rice?
SaraMangio spesso la pasta con il sugo, anche se durante la settimana di solito mangio un panino con prosciutto o salame. Per cena mia madre cucina spesso una zuppa.I often eat pasta with tomato sauce, even if during the week I usually eat a sandwich with ham or salami. For dinner my mum often cooks a soup.
AnnaAnche la mia! Però il sabato sera ordiniamo le pizze con i miei amici. La mia preferita è quella con carciofi, olive, prosciutto crudo e funghi.Mine too! However, on Saturday nights we order some pizzas with my friends. My favourite is the one with artichokes, olives, raw ham, and mushrooms.




  1. Exercise on meat and seafood in Italian - Drag text
  2. Exercise on meat and seafood in Italian - Fill in the blanks
  3. Exercise on vegetables, fruit and desserts in Italian - Drag text
  4. Exercise on vegetables, fruit and desserts in Italian - Fill in the blanks
  5. Exercise on meals and drinks in Italian - Drag text
  6. Exercise on meals and drinks in Italian - Fill in the blanks
  7. Exercise on food and drinks in Italian - Flashcards
  8. Exercise on food, drinks and meals in Italian - Single choice set
  9. Dialogue about food in Italian - Fill in the blanks

Exercise on meat and seafood in Italian - Drag text

Exercise on meat and seafood in Italian - Fill in the blanks

Exercise on vegetables, fruit and desserts in Italian - Drag text

Exercise on vegetables, fruit and desserts in Italian - Fill in the blanks

Exercise on meals and drinks in Italian - Drag text

Exercise on meals and drinks in Italian - Fill in the blanks

Exercise on food and drinks in Italian - Flashcards

Exercise on food, drinks and meals in Italian - Single choice set

Dialogue about food in Italian - Fill in the blanks

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