Friday, 12 October 2007
Easy does it
What you north Europeans must realise (and this is pivotal to an understanding of the profound gulf that exists between inhabitants of the United Kingdom and those citizens of the Italian Republic) is that whereas we drink with the sole intention of getting completely trolleyed, bladdered, shitfaced, arseholed or hog-wimpering drunk, Italians don't. They drink because it's a fine accompaniment to food and it aids their digestion. When the intrepid explorer Savage of Africa comes on one of his bi-monthly visits, we go eye-to-eye with a bottle of grappa and the bottle loses. An Italian will take a digestivo (just the one) so that he has a sound night's sleep.
Which is why (I think) when we went for luncheon in Vigevano the other day with the Duchess of Kent we had a half bottle of Bonarda (an unusual but pleasing, slightly sparkling red wine from Piedmont). Because that's what the other people at the table were drinking. Am I turning into a booze poof? In Blighty I used to bray away ad nauseam that I had never had a half pint of ale in my life. A defining moment? Oh Lord, I hope not.