Eating Like a Local in Italy by Shannon Bullen

I am probably one of the pickiest eaters you will ever meet. It has been a problem ever since I can remember. The first time I tried a carrot I threw up and I have not had one since. I do not like eggs, most fruit, and vegetables. You could say my taste buds never grew up. Recently I have been trying to stop this. I’ve had a lot of new things and I decided that I would continue that idea while in Italy. The second weekend I went to Amalfi and a group of girls and I went to a vineyard on Mt. Vesuvius. I was beyond excited to eat and try the wine. After many very different experiences with all sorts of public transportation, we finally arrived and our tour began right away. The woman was very sweet and told us the story of the vineyard while showing us the white and red grapes as well as their olive trees. We weaved in and out of lines of this vineyard and eventually it was time for us to sit down and start tasting. The wine was delicious. I was never very big on red wine, but after this vineyard, it grew on me.

Even though I was there to try the wine I found myself trying a lot of different food. The first round of food was mostly things you would find at an aperitivo. This would mostly be cheese, fruit, vegetables, and meat. I loved cheese. I could get through that pretty easily. Then came the other stuff. Tomatoes. They seemed so gushy and gross. I hated the texture of them, but I knew I had to get over that because if you don’t already know tomatoes are used in a lot of Italian dishes. I ate one and I was shocked. I loved it. I am not sure if it was because I am in Italy and you have to at least stomach tomatoes, but I ate so many right there on that volcano. They were delicious and so fresh. They did not taste like dirt like I thought they would. They were sweet and not gushy. Eggplant, olives, some random food I cannot name. I tried it all. I cannot say I loved all of them, but they were not terrible. I love meat, but I mostly just have steak, chicken, bacon- your main food groups. The idea of ham and salami and meat like that seemed gross to me for some reason and now I really cannot recall why. It was so good. It was not just in the vineyard that I tried new food. I can now say I páté, liver and lung sandwich, peaches, snails, pistachio crescents, truffles, and unidentified seafood. To my surprise, I pretty much liked everything listed. The liver and lung sandwich is a very popular street food found in Florence. They say that is one way to really eat like a local. Most of my days in Italy have been spent eating and trying new foods. Each meal takes about two hours and between that, class, and walking everywhere I have little else to do. I’ve been squeezing in museums, local events, and traveling on the weekends, but a day in Italy usually entails a day of eating. 

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