Una cosa veloce

This entry is in Italian, for no particular reason.

Una prova di poesia:

Una cosa veloce
ma proprio al volo cosi
Ti amo, ti voglio, e piacere come ti chiami?

Non so se e’ il destino o questo vino che mi fa sentire
che sembrano 200 anni che ti cerco…per dire
occhi sorridenti valgono mille parole
mi riscaldano l’anima, due raggi di sole

ma chi sei in fondo di tutto questo colore?
ci conoscemmo gia, sei un vecchio amore
in una vita passata mi avrai preso il cuore
Ora capisco, non sento piu nessun dolore

Un bacio che dura un’infinita’
un momento di paura, poi serenita’
e tutto questo dopo istanti passati
Ma quanto รจ strana la vita!

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European Soccer: Hatred and history beyond the pitch

 

The European community saw yet another display of Anti-Semitism at the Europa League soccer game between England’s Tottenham and Italy’s Lazio last Thursday during a high tension game in Rome.

Tottenham is known for having a strong Jewish following from Northern England. These fans were attacked without merit at the game, with remarks from Lazio fans including “Juden Tottenham” calling upon difficult memories from the second World War. “Free Palestine” was also among the chants from Lazio fans, touching upon the current and continuing situation between Israel and Palestine.

In unfortunate situations such as this, one can truly see the power that this sport has beyond the pitch, as fans take matters into their own hands…transforming the sport from enjoyable passtime to personal attack. The World Jewish Congress has asked that Lazio be removed from the Europa league for their racist commentary, as the team seemed to support their fans’ opinions.

Regardless of the tolerance and anti-racism campaigns run by UEFA in recent years, it’s disheartening to see that hatred still very much exists in this organization.

Soccer, or football as they say, is much more than a sport in Europe, but a means for fans to identify with a political, economic, national, and racial past. This adds an interesting dynamic to each game, as one roots for the team that truly represents their personal experience. Displays of hatred and violence at games bring unfortunate realities into the limelight.

Where do we go from here? Have you had any personal experience with sports related racism and intolerance? Please share your stories, everyone deserves to be heard.
At least I am a Juventus fan ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Aftershocks: The Fate of Parmigiano Reggiano

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As many of you know, the Emilia Romagna region (famous for production of Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano) of Italy was hit bad last month by a series of relentless earthquakes. May 20th and 29th were bad days in the world of cheese producers, as years of careful aging and hard labor toppled to the ground.

According to a letter published by the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, damages include:

  • 37 factories effected in towns of Mantova, Modena, and Reggio Emilia
  • 600,000 wheels were effected in the quake
  • Of those 600,000 wheels, 50% can be saved and continue on in aging for eventual sale as certified DOP Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 300,000 wheels (amounting to roughly 10% of annual production) have been irreparably destroyed.

What does this information say about the market? For those of you who are unaware, the rise and fall of price in Parmigiano Reggiano is monitored as closely as the NYSE. Weekly, a private Italian dairy consulting firm (www.clal.it/en) produces a stock market-esque analysis of the supply/demand chain of prices for all forms of cheese and dairy products in Italy.

To give you an idea of the evolving market:ย Image

The top line representing Parmigiano Reggiano, you can see that prices in 2011/12 are above 12 Euro per kg (roughly $8/lb) in ITALY! At Whole Foods this dairy gold sells for over $20/lb. While prices are suspected to fall in 2013, based on the simple laws of supply and demand it will take roughly 2 years to replace the destroyed product.

Being a salesman for imported Parmigiano Reggiano, this is not good news for me. Will Parmigiano Reggiano retain it’s standing title as the “King” of cheeses? Most likely… it seems people will always pay to be satisfied…the joys of niche markets!

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Clandestino Chaos

Parma, Italy

 

The lack of posts can be easily justified by the explanation of the utter chaos and insanity that has been endured in the past 3 weeks of my life. I know most of you come to this blog to read about the adventures of my stomach, but this time the only thing my stomach wanted to do was flip and eject itself from the rest of my body (no I did not suffer a digestive virus).

Here is the a list of events that may contribute to the development of my unforeseen schizophrenia:

1) The organization of Italian Bureaucracy is like a scene out of a 3 stooges film. One person bumping into the next, running in circles around each other trying to feign some thread of structure. This has thus made my immigration process absolutely laughable….to say the least I was given an appointment in MARCH to meet with the immigration office.

2) I currently live in a hotel, and my residence naturally, has been booked by someone else in January, forcing me to find a new place to live in very little time. The upcoming Christmas season does not help.

3) I GOT A JOB! As a gastronomic tour guide for Parma Golosa, a food centered travel agency here in Parma. I’ll be giving Americans tours of Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Vinegar factories here in the area. They’re even giving me a car!

After all this mess, I’ve come to realize that my life is like a Woody Allen film…only perhaps a little bit less intelligent.

We’ll have to see what’s in store for the next installment of “My Life is a Mess.”

Buon Appetito.

Parmesan Paradise: Chapter 2

After a year filled of cured meats, fine cheeses, and endlessly flowing wine, the end of my course at the University of Gastronomic Sciences was not enough to get me to leave my ‘hometown’ of Parma. Unfortunately, in the last week of my stay in the school provided apartments, I realized that soon I would find myself without a place to live, unemployed, and illegally undocumented in a European country….luckily this is Italy, and rules are more of a social suggestion than something strictly followed.

It was my last day in the school provided housing, I desperately wandered the cobblestone streets of Parma, eyes glazed over by the overwhelming pressure to find a place within 24 hours of my predetermined departure. This was crunch time. I went to the center of local classifieds which turned out to be like a scene from Midnight Express. Little pieces of handwritten housing requests pinned up on a never ending wall of pixelated colors. I left the office discouraged and mentally trying to prepare for my return into the United States.

As a final effort, I found myself in Parma’s historical center in Piazza Duomo at the famous and elegant hotel Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati. I knew this hotel doubled as a long-term residence and I asked the man at the counter how much I would have to spend to rent an apartment in the next 24 hours. He gave me a price of 1600 euro and my mouth dropped open. I felt a sense of overwhelming doom, feeling my vision closing in. Like a rat’s final attempt of escape from the grip of a cobra, I somewhat jokingly asked him if I could work for the hotel instead of pay….a kind of ‘dishwasher’ deal.

He smiled with surprise, and accepted my offer. I now live in the heart of Parma’s most beautiful streets, working for a Michelin rated hotel, and have begun the second chapter of my Italian life. In life the best things tend to happen at the last minute. Let’s see what this adventure has in store.

New Beginnings and a Potential Partner for Pasta

The moment has arrived, my graduation from the University of Gastronomic Sciences is coming up this Friday. A sad time indeed, this is a moment of strange transitions and uncomfortable changes. Important questions like, what side of the Atlantic Ocean will I be living on in 10 days, did my 18 years of education amount to anything? Can I still properly speak English? are all coming to slap me in the face as my year living in Italy might be potentially coming to an end…

BUT THERE IS HOPE! I have an interview with Barilla (yes the lord of pasta) on Thursday for the potential to have a 6 month marketing internship living in Parma and doing what I do best… eating. I am crossing my fingers and toes that this works out, but as most things usually happen for me, the best things come at the last minute.

My other option is running away to my friend’s house in the hills of Tuscany to hide from the government as my visa expires.. This is a highly highly probable idea.

Nonetheless, in this moment of indecision and fear, I continue to eat and drink with determination…Consistency folks, Consistency.

Grassroots Gourmet: Adopted by Italia

I’ve been picked up! Aside from the many Italian suitors that want to take me out for aperitivo (haha), Made In Kitchen, an Italian food website, has given me a column on their website. To them, I am the token American who has fallen deeply in love with their cuisine, excited to share my eating and drinking experiences with Italians who are hungry for an international opinion.

Every Wednesday, one of my articles will be published, exploring my discoveries of their beloved comestible specialties. The only problem? I HAVE TO WRITE THE ARTICLES IN ITALIAN! At first this proved to be an enormous challenge. Hell, I have been writing about food for the better part of 2 years, but now I have to do it in another language?! oy.

The first of my articles was published this week, and though my grammar is sub-par, I was able to get the message across that I am an absolute glutton for delicious food.

Here’s the link: An American in Parma…. Though my English speaking readers probably won’t understand the article, I consider this a serious achievement. I wrote about my experience at the Prosciutto di Parma factory. Living in Parma gives me some serious access to good eats, I may as well capitalize on my surroundings!

More articles to come, and considering my ‘bi-lingual’ writing abilities, this will definitely be an interesting development, both for Grassroots Gourmet, and my personal self worth ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you want to follow my posts on Made in Kitchen, create an account, it’s really easy. The only problem is my articles will only appear on the Italian version of the site.

Keepin’ it Grassroots folks, or as they say in Italian, dedicato ai miei radici (dedicated to my roots).

Buona Giornata e Mangia!!!!