I will always remember my time in Italy as a child.
One of the first and best things about stepping on Italian soil is the exposure to food and drink, which Italy arguably does as well or better than anyone else on the planet. Antipasto, fruit, pastries that are not as sweet as what we have in the States but are much more beautiful, soups, salads, meats, sauces and pasta. Oh, the pasta. We had a lady in our employ while we lived just southeast of Rome in a little town called Frosinone who made fresh, homemade pasta for us with her little pasta machine. Giovanna, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving a seventh grader an authentic Italian gustatory and olfactory memory.
Those memories are the best and most long lasting. My memory for names, details and minutiae has long since started to fade, but not the memory of the savory, sparkling and bubbly.
Aranciata, sweet and orange and fabulous when one leaves Fumicino and the asphalt is hot enough to melt in the Roman summer heat.
Pellegrino, clean and clear and bubbling and tickling the nose with goodness, helping the digestion between courses of a twelve or fourteen course meal, providing clarity of palate and head as the meal goes on.
I am having a bottle of S. Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water with my lunch at work today, and it takes me back. I was only fourteen.
Sadness? Not in the least.
Living in Italy as a young teenager was one of the best living history experiences I have ever had, bar none. My wife and I will be making Tuscany and environs one of our destinations in the not too distant future. I'll look for my old school, our old apartment house, and the old hole in the wall pizzeria in Frosinone where they made the best hand-tossed pizza I've probably ever had.
Today, happiness is bubbles.