Get ready... Biscotti and Panini are PLURAL
Nope. That's a turkey apple PANINO.
If this is labeled "biscotti," they better be giving you two...
I, like you, once thought that Parmesan was that hard, aged, white cheese that Italians are always sprinkling all over everything (except, it turns out, alfredo sauce).
But I was, and you are WRONG. It turns out that "Parmesan" is not the English translation of "Parmigiano Reggiano," but is rather an excellent example of an Americanata: it is an invented name for a totally different cheese, which is intended to trick unsuspecting customers by sounding LIKE parmiggiano reggiano. It is even illegal in the EU to call something Parmesan.
How grated is this cheese? 100%
Even more mind-blowingly, parmiggiano reggiano is not actually a kind of cheese at all. The kind of cheese that it is is called "grana." They make grana in many places in Italy, but the best (just don't tell Mr. Biraghi) is from Parma and/or Reggio. It's grana cheese made in Parma and/or Reggio, a.k.a. grana parmiggiano reggiano, a.k.a parmiggiano reggiano.
So if you go to Italy, and really want Parmesan, you'll have to smuggle it in yourself.
(PS - in what other ways is Kraft pissing off the Europeans these days? A few years ago it bought the world-famous Cadbury candy company. The Cadbury heiress told NPR that she was dismayed to see the great British chocolatier fall into the hands of "that American plastic cheese company." Ten points for the barbarians!)
When you ask an American if they speak Italian, or an Italian if they speak English, you will likely get what appears to be a clear and straightforward answer. But beware. Yes and no do not mean what you think they mean. Here is a little translation cheat sheet, to clear things up for the unsuspecting tourist:
When you ask an American if they speak Italian, they could say:
1. No. Translation: No. This person speaks no Italian. They will speak English with you, throwing in Spanish words they remember from middle school at random.
2. No. Translation: Yes. This person speaks passable Italian, but they will shyly refuse to do so. Watch out, they can understand 3/4 of what you say!
3. A little bit. Translation: Yes, better than you. This person grew up speaking Italian, majored in Italian in college, and wrote their PhD dissertation in Italian. But they are still American enough to respond to this question like one.
When you ask an Italian if they speak English, they will almost always say:
1. Yes. Translation: No. This person speaks pretty much zero English. But they will still try to speak it for you.
2. Yes. Translation: a bit. This person speaks some words of English, and will speak all of them for you.
3. Yes. Translation: Yes. The English coming out of this person's mouth will be perfect!
If you are planning a summer vacation road trip with an Italian, there are two crucial things that you, as an American, need to know:
1. Do not use terms such as "long" and "short" to describe driving stages of your journey, but always refer to specific numbers of hours. All your Italian car-mates may quit on you when they realise that the "short" leg of the journey was the 4-hour stretch (you thought "long" was more like 12...)
2. Be aware that an Italian left in control of the car air conditioning will exhibit strange and inexplicable behavior in the use of that device. For example, the point at which they will turn the air conditioning off will be the same point at which you just start to stop sweating. They will also have difficulty in cooling off the car given their aversion to moving currents of air.
The second type of American abroad comes from one of 5 places: the East Coast, the West Coast, a very large American city, or an elite, private American educational institution such as Harvard or Yale. These Americans consider themselves to be more worldly, more cosmopolitan, and generally superior to their Southern and landlocked counterparts and often make apologies, pejorative comments, or even entire negative blog posts blasting the touristic fallacies of their compatriots.
Type 2s are easily identified as Americans by the intensity of their efforts not to appear American. This inevitably results in their wearing the Uniform of Americans Who Do Not Wish to Appear To Be American. Look for:
Type 2s will be extremely friendly and always make an effort to speak the native language. This will help them to get your life story so they can post it on their travel blog tonight. They generally know about the tough realities of life, such as trying to travel around the world without a job for three years when your parents only renew your allowance once a month. To prove it, they will eagerly open up about personal financial details like paying rent, shopping in thrift stores, and doing all those other charming and romantic things that poor people do. Look for them trolling for the authentic Italian experience by sharing a joint with local communists, grovelling for an invite to an occupied book store, and asking enthusiastic questions about socialised healthcare.
To identify the American tourist abroad rarely requires recourse to visual stimuli, as the voice does tend to carry.
If, however, you need to identify one by sight, you can look for the distinctive markings and characteristics typical of:
THE TWO TYPES OF AMERICAN TOURISTS ABROAD
TYPE 1: The first type of American abroad comes from the American Midwest, Northwest, or South. These Americans tend to pack the same things regardless of whether they are going on safari, to Italy, or on a trip to Sea World. They will be no more ashamed to be wearing podiatrist-approved white sneakers and a fanny pack in Milan than they would be ashamed not to be dressed like a lion or a giraffe on safari. These Americans need to be divided into two categories, according to gender and age:
TYPE 1(A) includes all the males in Type 1, and all the Type 1 females over the age of 50. Look for:
TYPE 1(B) includes female Type 1s under the age of 50. These will be wearing
Type 1 Americans are famous for their admirable perseverance in speaking only English with local shop staff who show no signs of comprehension (and who are, in fact, Italians). They can generally be found ordering gelato loudly in English approximately four times a day and complaining that the pizza they got at the local "Istanbul Pizza and Kebap" shop near the train station didn't taste any better than the pizza they get back home.
The most elegant level of dress shirt in America is white. In Italy, it's light blue. Pack classy.
If you see one or more small children mercilessly abusing (physically, emotionally, and verbally) what appears to be an elderly bystander - a person so ancient and infirm that not only do they appear unable to even think about running away, but they also seem utterly incapable of self-defense, DO NOT become alarmed and interfere.
The venerable relic you see being kicked in the shins by the trash-talking tot is not some hapless stranger, but the child's own grandparent. They are also the primary caregiver of the child, owner of the child's parents home, and in the running for primary breadwinner for the child's family, too. But don't spend too much time pitying their lot. Teenage Italians outgrow this penchant for violent rebellion and get on quite well with their elders (possibly because not everything they want to do is illegal), while the sweet little five-year-olds of American grandparents are saving all the fun for later.
Avoiding faux pas for the Italian tourist in the United States.
Despite the fact that I cannot answer general grammatical questions concerning my mother tongue, this much I do know: that, unlike in Italian, adjectives in English are NOT interchangeable with nouns.
This rule should be strictly applied when it comes to the topics of race, class, and ethnicity.
Your use of "Jew man" and "a Japanese" are likely to start things off on the wrong foot. No one has any sympathy for racist bigots like you, especially not horrible, foreign ones that probably only came here to steal our jobs in the first place...
Americans, if an Italian appears to be warming up to ask you a question concerning English grammar, change the subject IMMEDIATELY. You are about to enter a world of pain from which the mercifully horrendous American school system has heretofore shielded you. Ablatives, subjunctives, participles, and various other forms and tenses of language of which you have, until now, been blissfully unaware.
You can often predict the onset of a grammatical conversation because an Italian will generally begin by complaining about the irrational pronunciation of "though" and "cough." However, if you are caught off guard, quickly deflect onto a perennially acceptable topic such as food or transportation strikes. If you were to proceed with such a discussion, and I were you, I should shortly wish it had never begun. Oy.
I'm an American living in Italy and making gross generalizations about it.