I had this idea when I was driving along a vineyard in California recently. The vineyard had rows of grapes each marked with a different grape: Pinot Grigio, Dolcetto, Sangiovese, and Pinot Noir. Really. Never would you see that in Italy. So it got me to thinking about some things that are uniquely Italian. And in the spirit of the blogosphere, I wrote to several folks asking them what their ideas were.
The sentence I asked folks to finish was:
You know it’s Italian when…
It could be something like:
“You know it’s Italian when you drive past a vineyard and they don’t have Pinot Grigio planted right next to Dolcetto and Pinot Noir.”
“You know it’s Italian when the sip of sweet wine is being served to you by a priest, not a sommelier.”
That kind of thing.
And here’s what I heard back. In case there are folks who sent something in and I didn’t post it, let me know, I’ll append. Or if folks just got too durned busy, if’n you want in, send it. Va bene?
Hank Rossi: You know you're Italian if you were 14 before you knew your name wasn't "Testa Dura"
You know it's Italian when the winery has a gas pump like device so it can sell wine to its neighbors in bulk at a good price.
You know it's Italy when every restaurant recommendation is followed by "and they have good prices".
Marco Romano: You know it's Italian when there are strong hints of volcanic acidity in your glass.
You know it's Italian when the pasta with vongole tastes more of the sea after each sip of wine.
Guy Stout: You know it’s Italian when you are craving Pasta in a Bolognese sauce with wide egg noodles and a few bottles Chianti Riserva.
You know it's Italian when it doesn't fit because it’s too tight.
Jeremy Parzen: You know it's Italian when you have to BYOB wine to a Chinese restaurant in LA because some people can't eat ANYTHING unless paired with wine.
You know it's Italian when you're at a bar in Sant'Angelo Scalo at 7:30 in the morning and you overhear someone saying, "C'ho tanto di quel merlot da raccogliere" (I got a mess of Merlot to pick).
Jeff Siegel: You know it’s Italian when the wine is made with a grape no one has ever heard of, and the wine tastes a lot better than the stuff made with grapes people have heard of.
Tracie Branch: You know it's Italian when an old wine barrel is blocking your driveway.
Thomas Pellechia: You know it's Italian when the drainage tiles in the vineyard are clean enough to serve as dinner plates.
Jon Gerber: You know it's Italian when you can't understand what the winemaker is saying but you understand him perfectly by watching what he says with his hands.
Andrew Barrow : You know it's Italian when it drinks even more beautifully with food
Amy Atwood: You know it's Italian when you can't quite understand what they are saying but that doesn't matter because you know you want more!
Linda Hinton (who works for Louis Latour): You know it's Italian when there are no Tums or Rolaids on the premises, only Amaro and Limoncello.
You know it's Italian when the vineyards have been in the family for a few centuries, not generations.
Anon: You know it’s Italian when your taxes are unpaid and your women are
Antonio Gianola: You know it's Italian when the espresso is always perfect, people who drink wine with lunch are not alcoholics and the men are more concerned about fashion than the women.
Craig Collins: You know it's Italian when you have been sitting at the table for an hour and a half already, you have eaten so much you can not move, you have drank so much you are slurring, the main course finally arrives and it is only lunch.
Nancy and Gary Krabill: You know it's Italian when Vin Santo arrives unbidden to your table and the restaurant owner is too polite to point out that you weren't supposed to drink the whole bottle!
You know it's Italian when you are the last party in a restaurant and notice the waiters have gone to sleep on the tables rather than approach you to offer your check.
Dana Schrick: You know it's Italian when you sip a Brunello and your mind conjures up a picture of John Wayne swaggering over to his horse, mounting up and galloping off into the sunset.
Gianpaolo Paglia: you know it’s Italian when there is no penguin, lizard, or other cute animals on the label.
Carmen Castorina: You know it’s Italian when drinking the wine makes them smile!
Joyce Hobbs: You know it’s Italian when you see a person on a Vespa and their dog is riding with them in the middle.
Filippo de Belardino: You know it’s Italian when the kids at the table are drinking ginger ale with a small amount of wine in their glass.
You know it’s Italian when someone the priest at the mass demands a DOCG sacramental wine.
Susannah Gold: You know it's Italian when there is a strange combination of aromas and flavors that sort of remind you of France, maybe Alsace but then something hits you that seems vaguely Austrian or Hungarian...unsure you race through wine regions and realize it could only be from Friuli.
You know it’s Italian when you sip the wine, get lots of acidity and then it slips into an amazingly integrated mouthful.
You know it's Italian when the grape variety is hard to pronounce but it makes you dream of far away and exciting places.
Robert Pellegrini: You know it's Italian when you pass a home with a perfectly manicured garden and a statue of St. Francis, or La Madonna in front.
Steve Armes: You know it's Italian when the descriptions on the menu don't include words like infused, deconstructed, or anything to do with molecular cooking.
Ceri Smith: You know it's Italian when you care about the wine and not the "points."