Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Veni, Vidi, Vici

I've survived a month so far while acknowledging that the french and italians have a mutual dislike for eachother. The italians always make a snobby face when the french are mentioned, and then when I say that I'm in fact french, they pretend they have no problem with it. However my mad italian skills paired with my italian heritage paired that I have the last name to prove it makes them calm down.
This mutual co-existence came crashing down last night. The roomates and friends from class and I went to a pub called 'Downtown' (I thought, when I was told we were going downtown, that were going into downtown Perugia-wherever that was). Out of curiosity, I asked the bartender if he knew what pastis was. He said no, and I described that it was kind of like sambuca, but not as sweet. He started listing sambuca like brands, some were Greek, others Turk etc. But then he asks me where pastis hails from...and I inform him. France.
An eye roll. A slight head shake. A shrug. This meant war. I wasn't letting this one go. I'd put up with that one too many times.
"So what about the french? What's wrong with that?"
"All they have is good wine" (which, I will point out, is INSANE that an Italian would concede that the French had good wine)
"Oh, just wine? We have excellent wine, champagne, cheese and pastries and PASTIS."
"We have cheese too. Do you guys have Parmeggiano?"
"No. But you don't have brie or camembert or good swiss. So...what now?"

More head shaking, and yes I was getting pretty worked up. I love both the Italians and the French, why can't people just humor me and pretend they love my other country? Honestly. The bartender himself said that sambuca was too sweet and syrupy, so now that I've talked the talk..I have to walk the walk and somehow get him to try pastis and award me the official victory of Pastis v. Sambuca in which the home team wins.

HO VINTO. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


  1. Ahh, the ever-lasting rivalry between nations. That reminds me when Americans comment to me "why are French so mean with us Americans?", to which I usually reply "this is a lie, French are not mean with Americans, they're mean with everybody!"
    French-Italian rivalry is a tradition, and as long it is done in good spirit, this can be fun.
    But if you really want to get them started, make a comment along the line of "Hmm, I had a much better pizza in Milan than here..."
    Don't forget to wear flame retardant suit when you do so...
    Ciao, bellissima.

  2. And by the way, Pastis is an "apero" where Sambuca is a "digestif".
    I would rather compare Sambuca with Cointreau or Grand Marnier - which of course are both better than Sambucca ;-)

  3. Oh and to add to that, when I was at my cooking class, the chef asked us if we had experience cooking anything and I said I cook a lot of Italian food. He rolled his eyes at me and said, but all they can make is pasta. So there.