Table Manners

Written by Ellen February 5, 2013

Ciao! This past week we attended our first gourmet dinner and now I can’t wait for the next one! This event required a little bit of preparation, though. The night before our dinner, Dr. Al led a presentation about professional dinner etiquette. At first I thought ok, I know to work my way from the outside in with silverware, place the napkin on my lap, and don’t slurp anything. What else is there to learn? The moment I sat down and started the presentation quiz I realized how much I didn’t know, and how different American and European table manners are.

Here are a few tips for dining in Europe:

1. After waiting in the bar for a table, it is not acceptable to take your drink in hand to your dinner table.

2. At the dinner table, Italians like to keep their free hand visible on the table up to their wrist. In France, they place their fingertips on the table.

3. In Italy, french fries are eaten with a knife and fork.

4. The correct way to eat spaghetti is to twirl a few strands in the tines of your fork on the edge of your plate. DO NOT USE A SPOON.

5. It is not ok to share food with your dining partner when dining formally.

6. When you are the guest of honor and the toast is to you, you do NOT take a drink or toast to yourself.

With these tips in mind, we ventured to our dinner, sampled Italian antipasti, and dined on a delicious four course meal at Hotel Fior in Castelfranco.

Dinner at Hotel Fior

Dinner at Hotel Fior


The etiquette seminar was extremely useful and I know the tips Dr. Al gave us will come in handy for the many business lunches and dinners in our futures. I have heard so many horror stories about lunches gone wrong and missed opportunities due to table manners, but with a couple more gourmet dinners to develop my skill set, I know that when I return to the States I will feel more comfortable with lunch interviews and eventually taking clients out to eat, too. Thanks Dr. Al!