Eat like an Italian: salad AFTER dinner
In the United States, we eat our salad before the first course or entrée at dinner.
In Italy, salad is served instead after the main course.
For Italians, salad — generally dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, aromatic balsamic vinegar or wine vinegar, salt and pepper — is intended to cleanse the palate and aid in digestion.
The acidity of the vinegar and the fresh lettuces refresh the mouth and tastebuds (in anticipation of dessert!).
And the olive oil helps to settle and balance the digestion.
But there’s another reason why Italians eat their salad after the main course: the acidity in the vinegar competes with the acidity in wine and can often overwhelm the palate and thus attenuate the flavors and aromas of wine.