Here I am, writing to you ALIVE, WELL AND FULL OF WINE from Florence, Italy. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room for a moment, shall we? Coronavirus. Can I just start by saying, those images of the CORONAVIRUS MOLECULES WITH THE SPIKES floating in space freak me out and look like the spike balls in Super Mario Bros. Clearly, I’m a video game expert. But in all seriousness, Italy has been in the news for the high number of confirmed #COVID19 (yeah man, there’s a hashtag) cases and I’ve been a little freaked out, I won’t lie. But I shouldn’t be. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t do “Yoga for Anxiety” before bed all week or obsessively read the details about the numbers, the politics, the sold out masks/disinfectant and empty grocery stores, but I want you to know that besides a few towns in Northern Italy, everyone is okay and still going about their days normally. There is food. Everything is open. We’re mostly just washing our hands more and not coughing in each other’s faces.
It took me a hot minute to calm down about the whole thing because more than the virus, the fear was contagious. My grocery store was out of chickpeas. MY GROCERY STORE IS NEVER OUT OF CHICKPEAS. Anyway, I cancelled on my friend’s pancake party last week and I feel like A COMPLETE IDIOT because pancakes are delicious, and I shouldn’t be scared AT ALL. I’ve finally read stories about people healing because even though everyone’s told me about 453990 times that IT’S JUST A FLU AND IF YOU HAVE A NORMAL IMMUNE SYSTEM, YOU WILL BE COMPLETELY FINE…I was still ridden with anxiety. Old health anxiety habits die hard, I guess. But I’m here to tell you, we’re fine. It’s fine. Italy is fine. Unless you’re pregnant or have serious health issues, babe don’t cancel your trip. Italy is beautiful. Why would you ever cancel the opportunity to come here?
To distract myself from the hysteria in the news, I started compiling a list of my favourite Italian snacks. Because when I’m worried, I snack. And ITALIAN SNACKS ARE WHERE IT’S AT, HONEY. Let’s just get into it, okay. (I’M SORRY FOR THESE MEDIOCRE BALCONY SHOTS OF FOOD BUT LIKE, I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB AND I JUST CAUGHT THE LAST RAYS OF SUN ON THE BALCONY, DON’T JUDGE ME!) I also feel the need to say that I eat healthy 90% of the time (maybe 80%), but once in a while, TREAT YO SELF.
- PAN DI STELLE BISCOCREMA.
The cookies you didn’t know you needed.
Before I even begin, you must know Pan di Stelle caused a stir last year when they released a Pan di Stelle chocolate spread. If you’re on team Nutella, we can’t be friends. Nutella is good, but the Pan di Stelle spread is like Nutella’s hotter and younger sister. She’s a bit wilder, a bit blonder, a bit friendlier and just A REAL GOOD TIME. And these cookies are full of that deliciousness. They’re pretty new and if you love chocolate..I have no words. Bring them home to your chocolate-loving friends. Carry them in your purse. I really appreciate that these are individually wrapped because I can bring an appropriate portion to work when I want to treat myself and not eat 16 in one sitting, you know?
- BB MIX MULTIVITAMIN
I don’t know what it is about these…the orange, the papaya, the sour goldenberries. Damn, those goldenberries are good. This stuff is dangerous. One pack of these is literally 777 calories. Be very aware. I calculated once, so maybe don’t eat them all in one sitting. I try to spread it out between 3 working days if I have the willpower. These are my go-to desk snack and they almost always saves me from getting a cornetto at the bar. The temptation is real. I also bring these with me when I travel. There are a bunch of different kinds, but these ones are my favourite. Also, WHAT IS A GOLDENBERRY?
- STAR PASTA
These tiny stars are my comfort food. I always need to have a pack in the house. They make me feel better. Make some broth and throw them in to brighten up a sad day. Boil them in water and add an egg if you’re feeling under the weather. I love them. They’re the cutest.
- BONOMELLI TEA WITH MELATONIN AND MAGNESIUM
Girl, don’t stress, have a Bonomelli.
I am addicted to this stuff. I can’t tell you how many packs I’ve gone through. It really does help me sleep, I promise I’m not just saying that. It’s no xanax (love you forever), but we’ll make do. This tea is basically a vanilla-ishy, semi-sweet powder that you mix with hot water and a splash of (oat for me) milk. I SEE YOU DOING YOUR THING, BONOMELLI. Sometimes, I drink it while I do yoga to wind down from a shitty day (JUST LIKE TODAY, HEY CORONAVIRUS EMAILS!) and I end up falling asleep on my yoga mat. Like a weirdo. IN SAVASANA POSE. Socks pulled up to my knees. It’s that good. I live for it. I need it in the house. It’s great for travel. It’s a YES FOR ME.
- CIOCCOLATO DI MODICA
Oh man, where do I even begin with this? If you haven’t had it, it’s hard to explain. Cioccolato di Modica is a Sicilian classic. This isn’t just any old chocolate, it’s an ancient recipe FROM THE AZTECS! And it has a super grainy texture. It crumbles in your mouth. It’s such a treat. If you have friends over for an easy dinner, slice a few pieces and serve with coffee. DO I SOUND LIKE A FOOD BLOGGER YET? DELICIOUS. I love the Orange Peel one, but there’s dark chocolate, there’s pistachio, there’s chilli… they’re all good. Just try it.
6. DOUBLE CRUNCH CHIPS.
I had to steal a picture of my favourite chips off the internet because I can’t keep them in the house unless it’s a special occasion. DOUBLE CRUNCH IS WHERE IT’S AT. Though I must point out, as someone from North America, the size of this chip bag is EMBARRASSINGLY SMALL. I CAN’T DO ANYTHING WITH THESE! I CAN’T SHARE THESE CHIPS?!? But they’re delicious. DELICIOUS. Look at the epic chef on the bag. I MEAN, C’MON.
And there you have it, my favourite snacks and a few must-haves from Italian grocery stores! I might have to do a PART 2, there’s so much more. I do want to say that I also love all vegetables and fruit from the grocery store when in season. But sometimes, you gotta indulge, you know? I’m so embarrassed by these photos, but I felt the urgent need to share something positive (LIKE SNACKS) during this weird Mercury Coronavirus Retrograde.
Love you all and thank you so much for READING UNTIL THE END!
A presto, your NUMBER ONE SNACK QUEEN, Lisa xoxo