How Italians eat hamburgers (Italy’s hamburger mania)

italian hamburger

Above: as far as Italian hamburgers go, my personal favorite can be found at Vittorio Fusari’s amazing Dispensa Pani e Vini in Franciacorta, where the Brescians’ already healthy appetite for beef has been augmented by the burger craze. Vittorio’s is unconventional but utterly delicious.

It seems that Italy has come along way since Katie Parla’s often fruitless search for a great burger in Rome in 2011.

If, like me, you follow Italian food blogs like Dissapore, Puntarella Rossa, or Scatti di Gusto (whose editor Massimo Bernardi also pulls the strings at Dissapore), you know that the last two years have seen an explosion in Italians’ maniacal passion for hamburgers (#NotHyperbole).

best hamburger italy

Source: Puntarella Rossa.

Just when we though we’d never hear another lament about Italy’s hamburger obsession from Joe Bastianich (who has complained that hamburgers are the only thing that guests at his newish restaurant, Orso in Friuli, ever talk about), the Italian hamburger mania has reached a new zenith with an article on “how to sink your teeth [addentare] into a hamburger” and the “perfect hold” for a hamburger, published yesterday by the Italian national daily La Stampa.

“Sinking your teeth into a hamburger can be dangerous,” writes Lorenza Castagneri. “Not for your diet. Fats and calories have nothing to do with it. It’s about your shirt. If you don’t want to find a nice ketchup splotch on your shirt — one that you can’t hide even with your jacket — you should probably read this. Let the trumpets ring out and let the drum roll: there is a perfect method to taste the legendary sandwich without soiling oneself or running into other small but unpleasant accidents” (translation mine).

Lost in translation: if only my Italian counterparts could understand that the whole point of eating a genuine hamburger is licking the wonderful amalgamation of burger jus, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, tomato water, pickle brine, and onion oil from your fingers.

Alas, my message would surely fall victim to that great (Bloomian) misunderstanding otherwise known as the Atlantic Ocean.

At least the Italians aren’t as lost-in-translation as the Japanese, who now encourage women to cover their faces when consuming a burger.

best hamburger austin texas

Above: it’s entirely unrelated to this story but as an amateur photographer, I am extremely proud of this photo I snapped this week for one of my Austin clients.

Have you ever noticed how in America the focus is often on the amount of sauce and not the pasta? How the sandwich is more about the topping than the quality of the bread?

In Italy, pasta is always dressed lightly. And sandwiches — panini, meaning literally buns — are traditionally more about the quality of the bread than the topping. You’ll never see a panino piled “mile high” with prosciutto and mozzarella. No, a few slices will suffice to give the bread the flavor you want to achieve.

It would seem that we Americans are making some headway on this front…

Buon weekend, yall!

4 Responses to How Italians eat hamburgers (Italy’s hamburger mania)

  1. […] —Paolo Cantele (translation by Jeremy Parzen) […]

  2. Love this…seeing how Italians try to be culturally correct with hamburgers now that they pretty much have all the ingredients. Guarantee the buns won’t suck.

  3. I like where this photo is going. Made me hungry :-) Hamburger in Italy, still seems so odd to me. The last one I ate at a little Bierhaus in Monopoli that served lovely and very cold Paulaner products and the ubiquitous veal chop with mushrooms and fries. My buddy convinced me to take a leap on the burger. The next time he was in the states I took him to Buca di Beppo :-)

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