I guess it was Peroni.
Red. Not Nastro.
That would have been the first memory of drinking in Italy.
A cold beer to wash down the Vitello Milanese. On the way to see the Coppa Italia Quarter Final between AC Milan and Roma in 2004.
A lot has changed since then. Wine is now the dominant drink. Even if I do make sure to pick up the latest copy of Birre d’Italia on our travels to the peninsula.
The change came with A. As all good things do.
A bottle of Valdo Prosecco chilling in a sink in our apartment in Viareggio. A wine that we were to have at our wedding. The cork, with a €2 coin still wedged in the bottom, sits in a drawer in the house. A good memory from that day.
Coffee deserves a mention. Drunk sparingly to this point. Until that post wedding hangover. Outside Florence train station. The tar. The jolt. A constant companion ever since.
Roero Arneis was the next leap. In an argroturismo. Or whilst overlooking the roof tops of Alba. Our wine. A’s and mine. A bottle of which is chilling in the fridge. Or being drunk as you read this. Good quality wine. Drunk for pleasure, not because it is open.
And then a departure. Taking us back to Salvo’s. An offer of an after dinner drink that wasn’t neon yellow. Amaro. A digestivo. Something that has now grown to become a collection of bottles. Brought back from every excursion. Or even, picked up closer to home.
There’s still room for beer. Even it was slim pickings for a while. Menabrea hiding on the shelves of M&S. Or the rare Birra del Borgo, Baladin or Lambrate on our travels. Especially a taste of Birrificio Sant’Andrea when I get out to Vercelli.
I even get messages from Zucco, our perfect neighbourhood Italian restaurant, when Tipopils is in. Memories of driving the family 2 hours out of the way to visit the brewery. We’ll do that drive again, one day. When it is safe to do so.
The latest (final?) evolution came naturally. A wine tasting at The Reliance in Leeds. The best pub. A visit from London by Tutto and Gergovie Wines. Those early days of orange, hazy wines. Of farmyard reds. Of Emma. A wine to fall in love with.
I buy it all from Wayward Wines. Seek inspiration from the ever brilliant Hande @ Vino Roma. I dream of sitting back at the kitchen table of Rachel Roddy. Sharing wine. Telling stories. Living the best of Italian lives. The best of someone else’s lifelong passion.
“Drink wine. Not too much. Mostly Italian” as a friend would say.