Come time to eat them, if you're planning on enjoying them the classic Italian way, set the pods out in a mound on your dining room table, set out a wedge of mild, firm cheese -- Tuscans use pecorino toscano or pecorino sardo; Romano is too sharp -- some crusty bread, and gather round: Everybody cuts a piece of cheese, takes a handful of fava pods, and breaks open the first the way one might break open a regular bean pod to get at the fava beans.
Alternate beans with nibbles of cheese and bread, and wash everything down with wine. Since fava beans have a slightly tannic bitterness to them, I find that a light crisp white works best, for example a Galestro (a Tuscan white developed to use the Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes that no longer go into Chianti), or a Frascati.
More Fava Beans:
An Abruzzese Fava Bean Soup with Peas and Artichokes
Fava Bean and Beet Green Soup Recipe
Polenta with Beans, Fava Beans, and Cabbage
Fava Beans Elsewhere on About:
How to Shell Fava Beans: Illustrated Instructions
Fava Beans in The Middle Eastern Diet
French Fava Beans with Bacon
Fava Beans (Ful) with Salt and Cumin
Marinated Fava Beans
One important thing to know about Fava Beans is that they can cause Favism, a serious form of anemia, in people who lack a blood enzyme and thus suffer from a condition called Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency, or G6PD. In Italy about 0.5% of the population suffers from Favism, though some Sardinian villages have peaks as high as 30%, as do some Greek villages and some African populations. Symptoms begin 12-48 hours after eating the beans, with the victim feeling tired and becoming pale and jaundiced. Should this happen, take the victim to the hospital!