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15 Delicious Italian Idioms on Food

There is plenty of content for beginners of Italian language online, but advanced students are left alone to get fluency and enrich their vocabulary. Well, not anymore!! Thanks to Irene, a translator and guide, from Bestitalianclasses.com, who took this problem into account and started a Youtube channel in 2020! Irene’s account is an excellent resource for intermediate and advanced learners. She shares “15 delicious Italian idioms on food” to enrich vocabulary for all intermediate and advanced Italian students!

15 Delicious Italian Idioms on Food

Italy and food is a unique match. But what about Italian idioms and food?? If you had an excellent meal you can say here are 15 different ways to express:

1. Ho mangiato da Dio:

This means I literally ate like God. Quite a common experience in Italy!

2. Ho mangiato da cani:

This Italian idiom is the opposite of the first and means I ate like dogs or very less!

3. Mangiare a scrocco:

This Italian idiom on food means to eat without paying, not because you are stealing something but because you find yourself in a situation where food is offered or paid by someone else. Quite an ambition 😉

4. Bere come una spugna:

This means to drink like a sponge, to drink a lot!

5. Bere come un cammello:

This idiom means to drink like a camel. The difference between sponge and camel is that in the latter you were very thirsty so you drank a lot. But if you tell someone bevi come una spugna you are assuming that they drink a lot of alcohol!

6. Darla a bere:

This literally means “give it to drink to someone” but when darla a bere a qualcuno is used it means to let someone believe in something that is not true, to dupe them. It doesn’t mean that you are serving someone with a drink. So be careful!

7. È un pezzo di pane:

If you describe someone as a piece of bread, you want to say that they are very good and harmless people. That is an Italian idiom with food very easy to use if you speak a little Italian.

8. Guadagnarsi la pagnotta:

This expression corresponds to the English to earn one’s bread and butter. If you are wondering where is bread in the Italian idiom you should know that pagnotta is a shape of bread 😉

9. Non è farina del tuo sacco:

If someone tells you that something is not flour of your sack, it means that you copied or stolen someone’s ideas or work. Be warned!

10. Togliere le castagne dal fuoco:

This literally means to cut/ take chestnuts away from the fire for someone and that implies that you are a good friend. In this idiom, chestnuts represent the troubles that you can solve for someone else.

11. Passare la patata bollente:

This idiom means to pass the boiling hot potato which means freeing yourself of a problem and dumping it to someone else.

12. Mettere troppa carne al fuoco:

Another great idiom for advanced learners is mettere troppa carne al fuoco which means putting too much meat on the fire. This implies that you are starting and doing too many things at the same time.

13. Essere alla frutta:

If you use this phrase with an idiomatic meaning, it means you are stressed out or tired. Why? Because Italians eat fruit at the end of a meal, so the idiomatic expression describes the final phase of a work or process!

14. Che pizza:

A very common food expression used in Italy, che pizza means you are bored by something or someone. This idiom is quite incomprehensible, as an Italian pizza can be a mirage to Italians.

15. La ciliegina sulla torta:

The ciliegina sulla torta is the cherry on the cake, the best part of something that makes it perfect. It has the same usage as the English counterpart.

Irene’s favorite expression is ciliegina sulla torta and and she often uses it in her online sessions. Follow her on Youtube and check out her courses – Bestitalianclasses.com courses to take your Italian to the next level.

PS-Are you hungry?? Get yourself a snack now!

Also Read:

5 Podcasts to help study Italian

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