Anybody hungry?

I recently flew to Italy to visit Pisa, Rome and Florence. Chill out under the Tuscan sun for a bit. All that. I found that there are several noticeable differences between Italy and the UK – for example, the coffee here smells better, and the buses smell worse. But the main thing I’ve noticed is that Italians really seem to have life sorted out.

It seems to me that you could ask any Italian, and they’d agree that there’s always time to take a break, and have a coffee. Their relaxed lifestyles even in their capital of Rome almost mock the busyness and energy of London, whilst even when in a rush there is always a minute to spare to have a conversation with a passing stranger. And then there’s the food.

I’m sure the likes of Supernoodles and Rustlers Microwave Burgers do exist in Italy, but I’ve yet to see anybody use them. Food seems to be an integral part of Italian society, and it tastes all the better for it. I’ve eaten at Michelin star restaurants, and restaurants in five star hotels, but none of it has come close to the food I’ve eaten this week. The reason? They take time, and they’re proud of how they cook. An Italian butcher will ask you how you intend to cook your meat, and prepare it for you giving you other ideas to try. Buy your olive oil from a local farmer, and he’ll give you fifty ways to use it. Whilst your average British person will look at the preparation guidelines, and if it takes more than two hours will often throw it back on the supermarket shelf in disgust, here nobody cares if you have to prepare your food 48 hours in advance. They know it’ll be worth it when you eat it.

The Italian ‘bit-of-this-bit-of-that’ really seems to work out and whilst I’m no expert on food, I can tell you with confidence that Italy really is the culinary capital of Europe (though I’m not sure the French will appreciate me saying that). So next time you find yourself on a gastro-tourism tour of the world, make sure Italy is one of your stops. Once you taste the pasta, you may never leave.

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