A recent article from an unmentionable UK paper gave a list of desperately craved food items by what the paper calls ‘ex-pats’, but who are best described as ‘immigrants from the United Kingdom’ and, probably, in around two years’ time, to be called as the Italians say ‘extra-comunitari’, i.e. those who still possess a passport showing that they are not members of the European Union, like Pakistanis, Nigerians, Bolivians, Russians etc.
This is the list the paper gave in descending order of yearning:
|FOOD ITEMS MISSED MOST BY UK IMMIGRANTS TO ITALY||DO I MISS THESE?||WHAT DO I DO?|
|Crumpets||Yes||Wait for some kind soul from the UK to bring me a pack. I could, of course, learn to make them when I get a crumpet griddle.|
|Not really||Get a tin of Fagioli cannellini and make Tuscan Fagioli all’uccelleto. Much more delicious. (recipe at http://ricette.giallozafferano.it/Fagioli-all-uccelletto.html )|
|Organic First Infant Milk||Too old for this||Nothing|
|Not really||Look for a small cardboard tin of ‘brodo granulare’ (both ‘classico’ and veg)|
|Not really||Make your own tomato soup. Recipe at https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/creamy-tomato-soup-10836. If lazy pick up a packet of powdered tomato soup at any large supermarket.|
|Crème Egg||Absolutely not. Horrible sickly things. More vegolate than chocolate.||Go for real quality Italian Easter eggs which come in all sizes and all qualities of chocolate. They’ve even got a nice ‘sorpresa’ when you crack them open.|
|Sage and Onion Stuffing
|Sometimes||A friend makes some home-made pickle for me. There’s also a recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/the-almost-original-branston-pickle-recipe-246675
|Definitely.||Put ginger powder into your cuppa and then dunk a frollino biscuit in it. (Or wait until some kind soul brings you a packet across from the UK)|
|Earl Grey and Vanilla teabags
|Not really||There’s some decent Earl Grey tea in Italy. What I do miss is PG tips, however.|
|Unsmoked Back Bacon:
|Not really||There’s some decent Danish bacon one can pick up at Tuodi’, Pian di Coreglia.|
|Blackcurrant Fruit Pastilles
|Richmond Thick Irish Sausages
|Not really||There are some great Italian sausages, some quite spicy too. However, they do tend to be a bit too salty for my taste.|
|Steak and Kidney Pie
|Definitely missed||Make your own. Recipe at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1313/a-good-steak-and-kidney-pie
You can use ready-make pasta brisè (short-crust pastry) from any supermarket if you want to cheat.
|Not really||‘Fette biscottate and crispy focaccie do the trick excellently|
|Jaffa Cakes||Not really||Eat half a digestive biscuit easily available here (thanks McVities!) with a slice of orange.|
|Salt & Vinegar Crisps
|Not at all. Ghastly chemical concoction.||Nothing|
|I miss these if I’m having ‘Pesce e patate’ (fish ‘n chips at the Barga sagra). It’s on from the end of July to the middle of August. Barga should include not just mushy peas but fried onion rings too.||Make and bring your own. Recipe at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/50281/mushy-peas-i/
|Cheese & Onion Crisps||Not really.||If you are desperate for chemically-flavoured crisps they are now appearing at Lidl in Lucca.|
What I most miss, however, is not on the above list: strong farmhouse cheddar cheese. Ok, you might say what with all the amazing varieties of cheese in Italy: asiago, mozzarella, pecorino, gorgonzola (a great substitute for blue stilton), provolone, taleggio, ricotta, mascarpone, scamorza etc. why should I still have a craving for cheddar? Moreover, why can one obtain in Italy cheeses from France, Switzerland, Holland and Germany and not a single variety from the UK?
Has the anti-brexit revenge already started on both sides of the Channel? Will the benighted inhabitants of the British Isles be deprived of camembert while we’ extra-comunitari’ (as several Italians are already mockingly calling us) will still be dreaming of a cheddar cheese toast with a lump of butter on top, especially welcome in the often dark days of a Tuscan winter.
Actually, I’ve long since come to the stage where I’m missing decent (and decently priced) Italian food and eateries much more in the UK than I’m missing UK food in Italy. It’s hardly surprising when the UK has just 65 products with EU protected status and Italy has 267. I wonder how all this will be affected in the promised forthcoming Brexit negotiations after June 8th.
I really do wonder? To end on a smiley note would you say ‘formaggio’ or ‘cheese’?