Diva Dreaming: Eating in Italy
While we’re grounded, all we can do is fill our minds with dreamy Travelling Diva moments. In this
edition of ‘Diva Dreaming’ we delve into the divine world of Italian food.
Delish and totally irresistible!
Generalisation Warning: this article contains a few stereotypes and generalisations that are
intended purely to add colour and texture to our thoughts about Italy—absolutely one of our
favourite destinations (in fact it could be Queen Diva’s favourite).
Along with extraordinary travel experiences, Travelling Diva journeys are always about fabulous
food. Frankly, it’s why we love Italy so much. Well, there’s also the men, but it’s mostly the food.
Maybe it’s the men. Oh, who are we kidding? The women are gorgeous too.
The fact that we can’t visit right now has created voids in our heads and hearts that can only be filled
with reminiscences and dreams of open borders, bubbly at 40,000 feet and endless days in the
Gorgeous, spirited Italy is a land of wonderful contraddizioni—the slow and the fast intertwine here
like nowhere else. Think Ferraris and Lamborghinis growling but stationary in Milan or Rome’s
notorious traffic. Having something that goes from parked to light speed in the blink of an eye, but
rarely can, and requires a gymnast’s flexibility to get into and out of is utterly Italian. This is pants-
not-skirt territory, and totally impractical for a trip to the shops unless, perhaps, you’ve run out of
Dolce & Gabbana again.
Still, what’s the point of having a Testarossa if no-one sees you in it? Maybe there’s some brilliant
Italian look-at-me logic behind driving in the congestion, after all. But we digress…
Food is all about ‘slow’ in Italy. This is, after all, the country that spawned the Slow Food movement
in the 1980s to defend ‘regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life’.
And, trust us, they take this ‘slow pace’ business very seriously. Woe betide anyone who walks while
eating, for example. There’s one obvious exception to this rule, of course. Walking with gelato is
almost compulsory here. But—and this is really important—only with a cone. If you’re spooning
gelato from a cup, you should be sitting in the gelateria or on a bench nearby.
It’s complicated, and very Italian.
Italian food seems to just come together effortlessly. That’s not to say it’s slapdash or imprecise, but
at its best it’s pretty simple—just a few high-quality, local and seasonal ingredients combined
without too much fuss. It’s just right, relaxed, joyful, delicious and there’s always time to stop, take a
seat, enjoy it slowly and, importantly, discuss it.
‘Where there’s food there’s wine’ is a mantra we Divas live and travel by, and no trip to Italy is
complete without a little vino here and there. Our trips are about many things—delicious food and
wine being two very important components of them. Safety, authenticity, divability, fun and friendships are some of the others.
For many, Italian food is a ‘desert island’ cuisine. You know, you’re stranded on an island and you’re
only allowed to eat one country’s cuisine for the rest of your life. Yep, Italian will do us just fine.
Especially if it’s paired with wines recommended and served by the gorgeous Bernardo, who looks
after us on our Florence, Tuscany & Rome tour. Whether it’s pizza, pasta, saltimbocca, polenta,
ribollita or bistecca fiorentina (yum), prosciutto, ossobuco, risotto, panino or arancino, Bernardo and
Helen—another of our favourite Sommeliers—know the perfect liquid pairing.
Food, wine, travel and Italy = perfection!
Much to our ongoing disappointment, we still can’t quit our jobs, move to Tuscany, and drink Chianti
all day. So you’ll find us wistfully dreaming about skipping out for welcome aperitivi and canapés in a
secret location in Florence, tasting Tuscan wines with the divine Iacopo—one of our favourite
winemakers—or sitting down to a pop-up picnic in the countryside near Siena.
Or we could just as easily drift away to Puglia on the heel of Italy’s famous boot where you’ll find us
relaxing on the beach, sipping cocktails, cooling off in crystal clear waters and sampling fresh local
fare at the region’s seaside restaurants, or the delicious meals prepared by our much-loved private
Food, even just dreaming about it, has that ability to whisk you away and travel vicariously. We can’t
wait to return to the Bel Paese and all of her culinary and liquid delights.
Grazie, la bella Italia.
Buon appetito, Divas.