Italian Food Myths Exposed

Trip Start May 27, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of Italy  ,
Sunday, June 11, 2006

One of the things we learned on the trip was the myth of Italian bread, olive oil, and vinegar. We learned this watching a video Ale and Vanni, our 30ish year old native Florintine hosts, made on their honeymoon. (Ale (say "Ali")and Vanni are Jen's friends from her year living in Italy).

Ale and Vanni visited an Italian restaurant in the Bahamas on their honeymoon and were so impressed when the waiter brought out a saucer of salted oil and vinegar with the pre-meal bread that they took a picture of it. They had never seen this done before and, when this section of the video played, both started raving about how good it was. I found it both amusing and interesting that something we think of as being traditionally Italian was actually unknown and novel to an Italian couple that had spent their entire lives in Italy.

Overall, the Itallian pastas met my high expectations, as did the Gelato (Ice Cream), Paninis (hot sandwiches) and Vino. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that I am still partial to Americanized versions of Italian bread and Pizza. I am told that salt was historically hard to come by in Florence (?!?) and as such many breads are still made without salt. In the 6 days we were there, we were only served bread once or twice before a meal, and when it was served it was un-inspiring. Still, overall, the food was amazing and alone practically reason enough to come to Italy.
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