This is how to look your best and to prevent embarrassment:
Most of the time it is only subtle things which distinguish experts and gourmets from clueless tourists. Georg Weindl drew up a list with tips to make you look confident and with which you'll make a good impression. And by the way, you'll also have more fun on holidays.
What you shouldn't miss out on
South Tyrol offers plenty of elegant gourmet restaurants. Nevertheless, you should not miss out on eating in a traditional guesthouse. Tasty cuisine, an inviting atmosphere and friendly hosts await you.
Why not leave the well-worn paths?
Why not enjoy a beautiful hike early in the morning or during sunset? Enjoy the splendid atmosphere and the unique quietness of South Tyrol's mountain world.
Strangers will greet you on the street
No reason to be concerned. It is very common to greet people in many mountain villages and along hiking paths, even if you've never met them before. Simply greet back. It doesn't cost you anything and you'll often gain a friendly smile.
South Tyrolean's are laid back and easygoing.
Even if your meal in a restaurant might take a bit longer, there is no reason to panic. Here you go out in order to meet people, to talk to each other, not only to fill your stomach. Be confident, remain poised and friendly, and you'll be surprised how quickly time goes by and how much fun you can have.
A glass of red wine before lunch
To be recommended only if you want to be considered a notorious alcoholic. You should have a glass of white wine instead.
The classic faux pas.
Ordering a cappuccino, or even worse, a Latte Macchiato, after a fine meal. This is barbarism for any gourmet. Be stylish and order an Espresso or a "caffé macchiato".
Don't be afraid to change your sweaty shirt at the end of a mountain tour.
But please do not change it inside the hut or on the terrace. This is as cultivated as going to church in swim clothes.
Aperitif and Digestive
South Tyrolean's drink a good glass of white wine as an aperitif. However, also a "Tiroler" (white wine with a splash of Campari and lemon) or a Prosecco is very popular amongst women. Italians also enjoy a Gingerino, Bitter or a Campari Soda as an aperitif. After eating you should have a digestive, usually something local like Ramazotti, Cynar, Montenegro, etc., but connoisseurs have a glass of schnapps from local distilleries.
Large or small beer.
South Tyrolean's usually have a small beer (0.2), but then several of them. Tourists usually receive a large beer (0.4). The same happens with the wheat beer. South Tyrolean's receive a small one (0.3), and tourists receive a big one (0.5)
Bread on the table.
Bread and cover charge are usually included in the meal prices. Hence, you can have some more bread without having to pay extra. However, you should not overdo it and you should not put the piece of bread back into the basket after you've had a bite.
Drivers be careful
Sometimes drivers in South Tyrol are a bit under pressure and sometimes you might experience audacious overtaking at high speed. However, sometimes this is also due to the many turns and the often long journeys of locals to their workplace. Sometimes South Tyrolean drivers don't show much comprehension for slowly driving tourists who want to enjoy the view. Whenever possible you should drive a little to the right and let them pass. Please have a bit of sympathy for the locals. Sometimes, especially during peak season, they do not have it easy.
South Tyrolean habits.
Especially in traditional inns and at festivals or events, some South Tyrolean's have one beer too many. In this case South Tyrolean's get very cheerful and loud and allow their feelings to run free. Sometimes, situations can get a little rough and they might get down to business amongst themselves. Otherwise, South Tyrolean's are very friendly and courteous and love to talk about everything and nothing.
Smoke, but please smoke outside
Meanwhile non-smokers are protected by the national non-smoking law. This means you are allowed to smoke in explicitly sign-posted smoking rooms or outside. Smoking has been forbidden in public areas for a long time already. Just have a look around and take a lead from the people around you. This should work most of the times.
South Tyrolean cuisine
In general very good and varied. If you are in the mood of tasting something traditional, you should choose a typical South Tyrolean dish. Italian dishes and the many pizzas are usually light cuisine. Don't always ask what is what and what it is made of. Just taste it and you'll not be disappointed. The waiters are usually pleased to also tell you what the dish of the day or specialities are.