Look at that menu. I mean really look at it. As if choosing a pizza isn’t difficult enough without three folded pages of small print selections. Just in case you were wondering and don’t possess my inquisitive procrastination skills to justify counting how many pizzas there actually are on that menu, I’m happy to inform you that there are eighty seven.
I’m not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last, to declare that Italians know how to cook a good meal. I mean, hello, any country that can even think of 87 pizza toppings, clearly knows what they’re doing. They’ve got skills I tell you.
Now before we begin, let’s get a couple of things straight. I love food. Eating to me is less a survival skill than it is an activity I look forward to participating in several times a day. With food comes cooking, which I love, and socialising, which I love, and just the general enjoyment that comes with eating yummy yummy things.
Fact number two. I am a fussy eater. This presents a slight problem for someone that likes to eat several times a day. I never got over that phase where you stick your nose up at vegetables and poke around at lumpy mashed potato. Yep, I’m one of those.
So, to find a place where I can pick anything from a menu and 99.9% of the time immensely enjoy it, is no small victory. But it is a victory that Italy can claim as its own.
I’m always very spoilt in Italy. The benefit of staying with host families and friends, is that you get cooked everything traditional style. Every time I visit my host mum, Marilena, she makes a point of cooking me the local dishes and Italian faves. Lasagne, Gnocchi with Ragù, Pizza, Bean Minestrone, and my favourite, Cappellacci di zuca – a kind of ravioli filled with pumpkin and served with ragù. Buonissimi!
This trip was no different, and I’m sure the scales can prove it.
What I did during my week in Italy was determined according to a well-thought out plan of what food I needed to eat and where: Marilena told me which days she wanted to cook me her specialities; two special trips were made into town to an amazing pizza place called Arcabaleno, which sells hot squares of pizza for about 1 Euro wrapped in paper ready for you to eat standing up there and then; I met up with a friend at a restaurant well known for its Cappellacci; and I even made a trip out to the Italian countryside while my High School friend, Maurizio, and his family made me home made pizza, topped with the home made salami they had hanging in their garage.
It really doesn’t get more authentic than that.
One night I met up with a group of friends at a bar for what they call an aperitivo. Basically what this involves is complimentary snack food on the basis that you’ll be buying drinks. Now, I’m not talking peanuts in a cracked bowl. I’m talkin’ smoked salmon, olives, prosciutto, fresh bread, cheeses, pieces of pizza and savory pastries.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Needless to say, I pigged out in Italy. The flavours and the care the Italians put into their food is evident in the enjoyment one experiences at every meal. On serving, the cook always waits in anticipation for appraisal, but I personally have never had to force a polite “it’s delicious” without genuinely meaning it. In fact “it’s delicious” would be an understatement for most of the meals I’ve had the pleasure of feasting on in Italy.
Like I said, they’ve got skills.
I have tried to replicate recipes back home, but they just don’t have that same oomph about them. I can only conclude that a) I’m a terrible cook or b) I need to go to Italy more often. It’s a tough call, but I’m leaning towards door number two.
Either way, I ate my way through Italy. Many a time I had pizza cheese dripping down my chin and pasta sauce splashed on my cheeks. I inhaled every meal like it was going out of fashion and whilst my table manners were probably appalling as I spoke with my mouth full, there simply was no time to concentrate on anything else but devouring and savouring that mouthwatering food.
And I’m happy to say that the Italians, they love it. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone enjoy something you’ve created from scratch. And in that, I’m more than happy to oblige.
Mmmmm, okay, you’ve made me hungry now :P
I get hungry just thinking about it!
I agree, Italy is THE place to go for food!
It really is. There’s no doubt about it!
Dangit. Now I need pasta.
I always need pasta! ;)
somehow food is always better when I don’t have to cook it. :-)
Ha ha! I know people who feel the same way. I often prefer my own cooking, probably because I’m so damn fussy, but in Italy I’m happy to be cooked for any day!
So jealous. Long time since I have had one of those crispy, minimalist Italian pizzas.
They’re just so good aren’t they? My mouth is watering…
Awww, man, I WISH I could go to Italy! I’d best go for 87 days, so I can try all those pizzas… ;)
This is an excellent plan! A pizza a day!
I’m definitely not going to Italy!!! I’m on a diet!!! :(
Without meaning to sound like a dunce but what does ‘pom.’ (the first item on most of the pizzas) mean? Just curious… :)
‘Diet’ and ‘Italy’ are two words that don’t belong in the same sentence. But the food is totally worth it. I promise! ‘Pom’ is the abbreviation for pomodoro, which means tomato!
Cool, learnt something today. Thanks!
A key component for me in my travels is the food and drink – MUST partake and induldge – YUM:)
I wholeheartedly agree with you!
GOTTA LOVE PIZZA! :D Nice post! I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award. My post goes up tomorrow – enjoy!
Ooo! I’ve never received a Sunshine Award before! Thank you!!
Oh. My. I want every single one of those pizzas!
You and me both.
Wow that’s a lot of pizzas to choose from!
It was impossible to choose.