24 Mar 2017
Is it just us, or does Italy seem greedy? It occurs to us that countries should evenly split the trappings of fame, fortune and historical significance. But we notice that Italy simply has a lot more than its fair share.
Somehow this rather insatiable realm is not satisfied with boasting some of history’s most prominent warriors and politicians. Julius Caesar would be ample fodder in the pride stakes for most countries… Italians turn him into a salad that conquers the world as well! Si!
For Italy, it is not enough to house some of the oldest monuments glorifying the very foundation of civilian life - they had them adorned with art by the world’s best painters and sculptors. Italians are definitely not satisfied with delivering us Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci or Donatello - they needed to produce Bocelli and Pavorotti too! Grazie molto!
No wilting lily in the arena, Italy triumphs on the soccer field. Surely then, that would be enough to rest on the old laurels a bit and have another afternoon snooze? No way! Italians need to ‘wow’ us with Gucci, Versace, Valentino, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Moschino to name a few of its stellar designers! And they no doubt ride in a Lamborghini, Maserati or a Ferrari! Prego.
So when we come to investigate Italian food… it’s no surprise that it has infiltrated the world like some stealthy marching army. There are very few places who do not love a bit of Italian cooking. With its triumphs of pasta making. With its delicate desserts and sumptuously slow cooked meats. It must outdo any providore with tasty cured prosciutto and salami. Not enough just that. It must deliver prosecco, and moscato, and sangiovese, and limoncello. It must surprise us with juicy olives and flavoursome grapes. Oh Italy, surely there can be no more! There is more of course. Always more in Italy! The jewelled gelati glistens in the evening light, beckoning to passers by. The delicious pizza can be bought by the slice. The seafood tantalizes, and the great weight of amazingly tasty food should be taking a bow, but instead it is infiltrating the world and delivering its splendour to our far flung shores.
As you tuck into that bowl of gnocchi that has been hand rolled, and its sauce finely assembled with 1000s of years of tradition, think about the delights of a sojourn on the Amalfi Coast. Or perhaps a little leisure time in the quaint village of Positano. A week in Rome could be so romantic - I hear the splashes of the Trevi Fountain calling us. Perhaps a masked ball in Venice appeals to your sense of mysterious, or a long walk on the coastline of Sardinia. A tuscan villa? Pretending to be a film star in Portofino? Or a room under the clock tower of an ancient church in Rome?
Now come on! Surely you agree. Italy is just showing off! I’m off to grab my espresso or maybe a cappuccino and ponder life… can you guess where those coffees come from?