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Current topics, themes, musings and travel notes

July 21, 2022

It’s Hot.

Hell Yeah. What to do ?

“Fa un caldo da morire!!!”  cried the greengrocer woman with the picture on the wall of Mussolini holding a baby.

Was that her — Signora Fruits and Veggies — as an infant, I wondered ?

Yeah well, I know its deathly hot. But you’ve got a picture — possibly a childhood memory – of Il Duce, which should be verboten. But it’s not — such is Italy’s relationship with its fascist past.  Anyway, I am buying a big piece of Anguria (watermelon) here anyway, along with your cold caponata, because these things are essential.  

That’s my take anyway. I can survive a heat wave, with a shortlist of cold things. GRANTED, I do not have to any heavy work in the outdoors other than writing the occasional complex sentence. I am grateful for that. Also, I have never ever been threatened by a wild fire.

So, as long as I am not having to do construction or battle a fire, I am fine with waking really early and passing the day with cold watermelon, Sicilian almond granitas, chilled wines (including reds placed up to an hour in the fridge), well-made small-batch beers (like those at Allez Hops shop in Nice, France – a craft beer shop and brewery run by my friends Dan and Julie (who designed and manages this website).

Speaking of cold things and kind people, do check out my new column at Wine Spectator on the Mustilli sisters – whose Dad resurrected Falanghina decades ago. 


The Mustilli sisters of Falanghina vineyards

The Mustilli sisters Paola (right) and Anna Chiara (left) in Falanghina vineyards

The column starts like this :

I was hot and thirsty one late afternoon in the ancient city of Benevento, in the middle of the ankle of the Italian boot. So I walked up to the shaded terrace of a café for something cold.

“Some San Pellegrino,” I called out in Italian to the barman standing in the doorway.

“Bianco o rosso?” he asked. He apparently thought I wanted wine, possibly confusing my request for water with the famous Marsala-based Sicilian producer Pellegrino…

I was going to write some pithy “kicker” of an ending to this post, but I think I’ll avoid working up that sweat. Just read the column.