"Dire Pane Al Pane e Vino Al Vino"

Jennifer Hulley food photographer travel photographer food writer hamilton toronto ontario

I steadied myself, lifting and pulling the wrought iron chair up and over the knobbly cobblestone pattern. On the ground shines a pattern of scattered dots. First red, then blue, the green and then red again. The dots fill the entire square, stretching across the floor, along the sides of the buildings and up into to the indigo ceiling of the evening sky. The children are screaming. With joy, of course. However, that line between terror and joy often becomes fuzzy when children are involved.  ("Happiness leads to unhappiness," an exe's grandma used to say…) The vendors walk the square pushing carts with their wares: lightsabers, illuminated stretchy slingshot frogs, laser pointers, and of course, selfie sticks. This is one of those moments when I am consciously aware of the odd juxta position I am sitting in. Sat on a street constructed of intricate stonework that had been laid hundreds of years before me, iconic structures flanking the walls of the square, ornate gold and ironwork streaming throughout the fountain. And then, the selfie stick.

My waiter arrives with a precariously balanced tray. I shove things around trying to make room on my tiny bistro table, space for the all the necessities: the Chianti Classico, the focaccia, the capricciosa and the tortellini (God bless any country that decides to serve carbs with carbs and a glass of carbs).  Where to start? The pizza, obviously.

That first bite is always the best. I swear to Yoda, I have seen fireworks and heard symphonies explode at the first bite of a well-orchestrated pizza. The way the crust, which appears to have been stretched so thin that it couldn't possibly hold up the weight of the entire structure, manages to bear a magnificent combination of flavours and textures to you. A gastronomical blend that starts out crisp but then immediately melts into this glorious mix of buttery, salty and yet still sweet goodness. GLOR-I-OUS. The heat of the sauce mixed with the molten slab of cheese hits the roof of your mouth,  threatening to torch it (because let’s be honest, there is no self-control where pizza is concerned and waiting is reserved for the foolish). Then comes the Chianti, dry and smoky like a rough blanket to quickly put out the heat and ready you for another bite. For in Italy, you see, we drink to eat more.

jennifer hulley food photographer travel writer hamilton ontario

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This post came to fruition via an exercise from Diane Jacob's "Will Write For Food"