|Image courtesy of -Marcus- / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Italy, the land of Chamomile tea... I guess you thought it was the land of cappuccino, caffe latte and espresso, am I right? Well, you're right... and you're wrong.... The Italians are of course drinking millions of cups of coffee every day. Lots of coffee. Strong coffee. They're Italians, right? And they know both how to make it and how to drink it.
But mention the word "tea" to the average Italian and the first word that pops into his head is "chamomile" or camomilla as it is called here. This is something I don't understand. They go from drinking coffee that is so strong that it knocks your socks off to this insipid, pale yellow liquid. What on earth happened on the way? Well, part of the answer lies in the fact that they love their coffee so much that they don't need another drink. Only when they have an upset stomach (from drinking too much coffee...) or feel a bit under the weather for various reasons do they consider drinking something else. Oh, and lets not forget when they're "nervous" as they call it. (Sono nervoso...!"%#¤%¤#¤!) At that point the only valid choice is camomilla. I don't know to what extent the tea calmes them down, but anyway....
But what about me? I'm an avid tea drinker. Even if I love my coffee after lunch and dinner I consider myself first and foremost a tea drinker. Have been all my life. Before I moved to Italy I didn't drink any coffee at all. But lots and lots of tea. Black tea, that is. Never chamomile. Ever! Only the smell of it makes me feel sick. I just can't stomach it.
And what happens when you're at someone's house and you ask for a cup of tea instead of coffee? Out comes the chamomile tea! Or some other herbal tea with fennel, aniseed or liquorice. At that point I just go for the coffee....
If you go to a supermarket to buy tea the story repeats itself. They have a huge amount of all the herbal teas you could ever think of - for an upset stomach; for sleepless nights; for high blood pressure etc etc.... And tucked in a corner you find some tea bags of unknown origins with English sounding names like "Lord Nelson". Well, I'm stretching the truth a bit here, because if you go to a well stocked supermarket you will of course find the English labels Twinings English Breakfast and Lipton Yellow Label, but that's it. And always tea bags. Never loose tea leaves. And I would so much love to be able to make myself a real "cuppa".... Sigh! Oh well, I guess I just have to make do with what I can get hold of. But Camomilla? Never!
I know I'm probably complaining a bit much, but for me drinking Lord-Nelson-tea is the same as for an avid coffee drinker having to settle for a non-label instant coffee for the rest of his life. And I'm not even English!
PS. I have learnt that they have many shops in Rome selling all kinds of tea and the next time I go into the city I will definitely stock up un a lot of different types of tea. Really looking forward to it :-)
PPS. On a little side note I have to say that I'm not writing to make fun of or mock the Italians as some people like to think. I've gotten comments in the past saying that I'm a really "%#¤& person for writing the things I do. But I'm only trying to illustrate the differences between living in Norway and living in Italy, which I hope people reading this blog understands. And to do that sometimes I have to exagerate to get my point across. If in doing so I offend people I sincerly apologize. But if I were to write only the facts and nothing else I could just stop writing the blog because it would be boring to both read and write. The post I've just finished would go something like this; In Italy people drink mostly coffee. If they're ill they drink chamomile. I don't like chamomile. Full stop.
So, in the future I hope people reading the blog can give me the benefit of the doubt.....