A Culinary Reflection on Italy

What is Italian life like? I thought I knew before I came here. I thought of Italy and saw soccer and Italian men. Red and green and white flags. Olive Garden. Now? Now I see Italia for what it really is: food and wine and culture centuries deep. 

From winery tours on the top of the mountain to coffee roasters in a small town in Tuscany. Little cafes full of every type of pastry you can imagine to pizzerias with smells to die for. A walk down the street in Tuscany was like a different world. 

The first restaurant we ever went to in Arezzo was called Mariano’s. Twelve of us piled in out of the pouring rain and begged for a table… even though the restaurant didn’t open for another hour. (One of the oddest things about Italy was the restaurant hours! Most dinner places didn’t even open until 8:00!!) A huge friendly man comes out and claps us all on the shoulder “CIAO!!!!” It was some of the best pizza I had ever had although it was weird: they never cut it. You have to fend for yourselves, but wow is it worth it! 

Same for everything sweet: croissants and crepes and gelato, sweet bread and creme brûlée and muffins with Nutella …heaven. Speaking of Nutella, almost everything in this country is sold with Nutella on it. I’ve had Nutella pizza, Nutella crepes, Nutella gelato. Peanut butter is not a thing and chocolate actually means Nutella in some of the shops… It’s everywhere!!!

Other things on every corner: coffee, cheese, wine, honey, alcohol, bread; every kind of amazing food you can think of. Every day I go to bed full with new food in my stomach and another beautiful delicious day to look forward to. God I love this country!

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