Monday, October 16, 2006

Scotland v Italy

My recent 9 nights in a row of drinking grappa (and all the years up until now) have given me an idea on how the grappa experience varies in Italy and Scotland. Here I compare the two using various categories and mark each out of 10.

  1. Quality – In my experience you tend to get a decent quality grappa when dining in Italy although occasionally a variety that is brewed in the mountains and strips the tastebuds from your tongue will be served to you. In Scotland good quality grappa is available although usually you have to know where to go to get it. Italy 8 Scotland 6.
  1. Quantity – I don’t think I’ve ever had a small measure of grappa in Italy whereas in Scotland there is a tremendous variance in the quantity served up as one measure. I’ve had substantial measures in some restaurants (and even a second measure on the house) but in others the measure was so small it had almost evaporated before I’d even tasted it. Italy 10 Scotland 7.
  1. Cost – The most I paid for a grappa on my recent trip to Italy was 3 euros. In Edinburgh restaurants the cost is typically between £2.50 to £4 although I have been fleeced £6 for a grappa. The fact Scotland has to import saves the country getting a smaller mark. Italy 9 Scotland 6.
  1. Surroundings – I’m really talking about sitting outside drinking a grappa as a nice restaurant can be in any country in the world. I think the only Scottish outside grappa I’ve had was on Leith Walk in Edinburgh which although I love it, ain’t no Via Nazionale. I’ve also drank grappa in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, beside the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in the Piazza Napoleone in Lucca and of course outside Onesti’s in Barga. Bit of a no contest really. Italy 9 Scotland 3.
  1. Waitresses – As an unashamed admirer of Italian women it is a major bonus when an attractive waitress brings the grappa at the end of the meal. However the scores here are a lot closer than you might think as a lot of Italian restaurant owners in Scotland employ family or Italian students to give a restaurant a more authentic Italian feel. If it wasn’t for the diners ordering broo-sheh-ta or tag-li-telly you could almost swear you were in Italy. Italy 9 Scotland 7.
Overall grappa score out of 50: Italy 45 Scotland 29.

The case for moving to Italy gets even stronger.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Martino's 9 in a row.

As a Celtic fan the phrase “9 in a row” has only ever meant one thing to me. Between 1966 and 1974 Jock Stein guided Celtic to, a then world record, nine consecutive league titles. Oh and he also made them European champions as well.

Anyhoo after Saturday night I set my own personal grappa 9 in a row. For nine consecutive nights I drank at least one grappa. I have to say it wasn’t intentional and I never set out to get nine but sometimes these things just happen.

Fri 29th Sept – Was out at my brother’s and my sister-in-law had cooked Italian which was washed down with a few red wines. A grappa was the natural end to the night.

Sat 30th Sept – Knew I was flying out to Italy very early next morning so had to leave Edinburgh at 3:30am to go to Prestwick. Had a wee grappa to help me get to sleep at 8 o’clock.

Sun 1st to Tue 3rd Oct – Visited Firenze, Lucca and Pisa. With large measures at 3 Euros it would have been foolish not to have had a grappa in each city.

Wed 4th Oct – Quick stop back in Edinburgh and a visit to Domenico’s. Another grappa to end the meal.

Thu 5th Oct – Visit to Ginkers in Dumfries. As is always the case a grappa in the restaurant then at least one more back at Ginkers’ house.

Fri 6th Oct – A visit to Yorkshire for my nephew’s 6th birthday. Fortunately the young lad has taste (takes after his Zio Martino) and wanted to go to an Italian for his birthday dinner. He’s a bit young for grappa but that didn’t stop me.

Sat 7th Oct - My brother, Brian, very kindly gives me the last of his grappa as a nightcap to ensure I make 9 in a row.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The streak continues...

Last night was time for a reunion of the two sorry contributors to this blog (Martino and Ginkers). Of course, a little grappa was consumed both in restaurant and back at home. Over the course of the evening it emerged that Martino is on something of a "gold run" for grappa at the moment.

I think his "hitting streak" currently stands at seven. Yes, for seven nights on the trot he has ended a meal with a grappa. He is just back from a Toscana trip and has been on holiday, hence the quality of his performance. I am reliably informed he will be eating Italian tonight as well so the chances he will make it eight out of eight are just about 100%.

I can't actually think what my own PB on this front is. It must have been during an Italian holiday some time but I think usually after four or five I have to take a breather. Can anyone else challenge the great Irish guzzler?