Eating together and sharing food and drinks has a strong social meaning in all cultures around the world. Therefore, there are quite a lot of table customs and implicit dining rules that differ from country to country.
Even around Europe there are peculiarities in each region – here are a few of them:
Austria: Use your fork to portion potatos or dumplings at your plate. As potatos and cooked pastries are usually soft and a little sticky, they can be easily parted with the fork. Using the knife indicates that your dish is not cooked well enough.
Germany: Meet the eye when toasting. Before taking the first sip, it is quite important to toast with every person in the party by clicking the glas, looking in each others eye and say a casual ‘Prost!’ – or ‘Zum Wohl!’ in a more formal occasion. Not doing so is said to bring bad luck – or just considered impolite.
Italy: Enjoy a black ‘caffè’ to finish the meal. A small strong espresso is the favored coffee during the day. Cappuchinos or Caffe Lattes are seen as a filling part of breakfast – if you order it after eating, it gives the impression you are not satisfied yet.
Portugal: Fold up your lettuce. Bigger leaves should be arranged with the help of your knife and fork into a little bundle that can be picked up with the fork. The salad keeps a nicer look than all cut down and mixed up.
Spain: Respect the ‘sobremesa’. After a good meal, it is custom to remain sitting, to rest and chat on a little while. So don´t rush to leave the table.
Do you want to add a table manner or an oddity you experienced when eating abroad? We are curious to read your anecdotes!