I've just got back from spending an incredible and fun 2 weeks in the Tuscan region of Italy. I had a wonderful time teaching yoga and doing my healing work at a very magical and enchanting boutique Hotel called Borgo Santo Pietro.
I have been very fortunate to visit Italy on many occasions over the past 6 years. Every time I go back, I fall more in love with the culture and the Italian way of life.
As a food lover, one thing that always fascinates me is the very unique relationship that Italians have with their food. In this article, I share 3 food-inspired insights from my ongoing love affair with Italy.
1. In Italy, good food really matters.
Whilst I was in Italy, I had a chance to meet a lovely lady called Alexandra, a Canadian food and art blogger. She now lives in Florence with her Italian husband. She remarked, "good food is not a trend but a way of life." In Italy, people really care about eating fresh, high quality food.
Everywhere you go in Italy, even in the small villages, it seems that there is a 'pizzeria' and 'alimentary' (grocer’s shop). Both shops are filled with fresh local foods such as fruits, vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, breads, cheeses and meats. One thing, I particularly love, is seeing all the uniquely-shaped produce. No two tomatoes look the same!
I was lucky enough to be staying in quite a rural part of Tuscany, and I couldn't help but notice that my 'neighbours', all had vegetable gardens and fruit trees. During my time there, I saw an abundance of raspberries, red currants, white currants, pear trees and lemons. The nectarines and peaches were just ripening and about to come into season.
2. Real gelato is eaten without guilt.
With the weather starting to warm up, it's quite normal to see family members and friends, sitting down outside a bar, enjoying a gelato, and talking with their voices, as well as their hands!
Now gelato in Italy is made fresh and totally different from any kind of commercial ice-cream you may typically find in a supermarket. This is because it’s made on-site, using real food ingredients, with no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives.
You can usually choose from a wide range of interesting flavors. My favourite flavour combination was the crema (made from raw milk), with the strawberry sorbet.
It's totally divine or as the Italians would say “Delizioso!”
3. Coffee is still drunk in the true Italian way
Coffee according to the Italians is meant to be sipped, savoured and enjoyed in small amounts.
Whilst I was in Tuscany, I didn't see a single take-away coffee cup. In the authentic Italian coffee bars, you simply can't order the large cups of sugar-sweet, syrup-injected, frothy coffees that we've become accustomed to here in England, and in many other parts of the world too. When I asked my Italian taxi driver what he thought about those kind of drinks, he looked mortified and proclaimed with a thick Italian accent, "No way! This is not the Italian way."
The Italians have a specific way of drinking their coffee, usually an espresso, macciato or cappuccino. Most Italian cafes have a stand-up bar area where you can lean up against, drink your coffee, strike up a conversation and watch the world go by.
Love your food... Love your life!
The traditional way of Italian living has a lot to offer us about how to eat real food and live with joy. Every time I leave Italy, I dream of the day that I can return.
With so much Love,
From my heart to yours,
Katrina Love Senn xo