I challenge anyone to come to Italy and not gain weight. As I mentioned before, I love food. But I also love the beach too. This in itself is a huge contradiction because if you do the simple math gelato and bikinis don’t add up.
I have recently discovered a new flavour of gelato. It’s called ‘Violetta’. It’s actually made from violets, that sweet, small purple flower. The colour of purple in ancient times represented royalty. The deeper the colour the nobler the family was. But this colour of purple is altogether different. It’s a gentle colour like baby blue, only purple.
The flavour (gusto in Italian) is just as subtle as the colour. The texture is smooth and creamy but the flavour is delicate and soft. Not too sweet, it actually entices you to take another spoonful just to get a hint more of its hidden goodness.
Italian’s, and the French, are quite proud of their gelato and you can find the most interesting array of flavours imaginable. It would never occur to me to create a gelato flavoured with purple flowers any more than it would with hot chilli peppers, but this is exactly what they do here.
They are also quite particular about where to get the best gelato. Just like their penchant for finding the best olive oil or wine, you also must seek out the “artiginale’ Gelateria’s in order to get the good stuff. “Artiginale” means homemade. Italian’s are quite fussy about this and insist on knowing where the best homemade gelato is in their region.
I could go on for pages about amarane cherries and panna (syrupy marinated maraschino cherries and fresh whipped cream), but I wouldn’t want to tease you unfairly if you are reading this from a country that is not Italy or France.
The topic of gelato brings me to my next conundrum, which is sporting a bikini on the beach. I own 8 or 9 of them. I love to swim and read books by the sea. You wouldn’t know it based on my freckled fair skin, but the beach is like a second home to me. I don’t necessarily like to bake in the sun. I prefer a shady tree and comfy lounge chair.
The beaches in Italy, or at least most of them in Genova and the Ligurian region, seem to consist of rocks, not sand. Although the beaches are quite spectacular here, I admit to being a bit too spoiled with my Caribbean past and have a preference for the softness of sand on my feet instead of hard, hot stones.
In less than a week, I will be rejoining my husband on a ship and surrounded by sandy beaches and the sea. He will be working all day and I will be hanging out reading English books listening to reggae on the deck somewhere with a beeper in my beach bag ready to meet him for lunch.
The downside of my life is that my husband works on cruise ships and is surrounded by beautiful women in bikinis all day. While most guys envy him, I know my female friends can sympathise for me. So, for now, I will just have to live with the memory of that great violetta gelato flavour lingering on my tongue while I try and squeeze back into one of my more forgiving bikinis.