This page contains a list of the top foods and drinks that are loved by (most) North Americans and hated by (most) Italians, and vice-versa (*).
|North American things Italians dislike:
Root beer. A North American classic soda, great with a burger. Tastes terrible to Italians – with a medicinal mouthwash aftertaste that lasts for hours.
Drip coffee. The 12-20 ounces drink represents the standard definition of the word coffee in North America. Italians find it extremely watery.
Dill pickles. A signature side and condiment in North America (and northern Europe). Tastes way too strong to Italians, who order their burgers without pickles, as pulling them out of the burger wouldn’t be sufficient to remove their scent.
Ice cream floats. Soft drinks made by mixing ice cream and soda (e.g. root beer, cola or orange pop and vanilla ice cream). Even just the idea of mixing water and ice-cream is revolting to Italians, even more so when mixing acidic drinks and milk-based products.
Canola oil. Italians strongly dislike it especially as a frying oil because of its distinct flavor and smell.
Soft meringue (e.g. in a Lemon Meringue Pie). Partly baked meringues, where only the top is slightly hardened, are considered a delicacy in North America. To the Italians, a ‘meringa‘ is supposed to be absolutely dry, light and crumbly (following the French recipe). Italians eat meringues on their own (like cookies), or use them to make a particular type of ice cream cake called ‘meringata’.
Sourdough bread. This type of bread uses the natural fermentation of flour and water as the only leavening agent. Typical of certain areas (e.g. San Francisco), sourdough bread is becoming increasingly popular in artisan bakeries in all North America. For the Italians, bread shouldn’t taste sour.
Flavored water. This drink has becoming more popular in North America. It’s still water, sweetened with a 0‑calories sweetener and lightly flavored with natural and artificial flavors. Not all North Americans like it. The Italians find the light flavor and the taste of the sweetener very off-putting.
|Italian things North Americans dislike:
Chinotto. A classic soda in Italy, where it’s advertised as “the other way to drink dark”. An acquired taste because of its bitterness, chinotto is many people’s favorite as a refreshment or as an accompaniment to food. North Americans find the bitterness offputting in a soda.
Amarena (wild cherries in syrup, as made famous by Fabbri). Used as a condiment for gelato and other desserts, ‘amarena’ is an Italian favorite. Tastes like cough syrup to North Americans.
Latte e menta (cold milk and mint syrup). A refreshing summer drink for the Italians. Really strange and gross idea to North Americans.
Granita alla menta. Similar to a snow cone, a ‘granita’ is a popular summer treat in Italy. Other flavors are also common, but mint is the most classic. North Americans find that it tastes an awful lot like mouthwash.
Lardo (cured pork fatback). Not every Italian likes it, but ‘lardo’ is a popular cold cut, rigorously served with bread. Quite disgusting to North Americans who see it like a lump of pure fat.
Mostarda. A side made of candied fruits or vegetables in a mustard-flavored syrup. In northern Italy, mostarda is a traditional accompaniment to boiled meats, but it also goes really well with aged cheeses. Very few North Americans like it, possibly because its strong aroma is very unexpected for something that looks like a dessert.
Anchovies. Commonly preserved (in salt, or in oil), anchovies are generally liked by the Italians. They are used directly in some traditional dishes (even on pizza!), or to enhance the flavor in several fish preparations. In North America they are much less popular!
(*) Disclaimer: this list has been compiled by generalizing the opinions of people (on both sides) that I’ve come across, not by conducting any actual study.