It's Friday, barely late enough to call it the afternoon, but it's about 12:30 and I'm enjoying a little blogging on my lunch break because I am confined to my cubicle. That, is a story within itself, but don't worry it's not because I'm in time-out. But, as I sit here, with my Martha Stewart sistema container of leftover Chinese food from my favorite little take out shop in town, I am pondering the Italians and their perfect "lunch break".
I must say, it is really difficult to even call what they do a lunch break, it's more like an afternoon break. It is fabulous. The leave their offices, typically housed in vintage buildings that are architecturally enticing, walk down their cobblestone street to the nearest piazza. Once reaching the piazza, where the space opens up and the sunlight streams in, they meet friends or family, or even business partners for a most perfect lunch break.
When the air is warm, the cafes and ristorantes offer outdoor seating where they crowd tables together under brightly colored awnings for the hungry customers to pile into. Italians then eat a lunch that rivals the American dinner in size. Starting with an antipasto, then a pasta, then a salad, followed by the lightest, yet most delicious tiramisu you have ever tasted. All of the wonderful food is enjoyed with a couple of glasses of rich, or fruity, or smooth, or dry, but always perfect, wine.
One can only imagine that with all of the eating and drinking done at lunch, the Italians would be a bit sleepy...I like to refer to it as the "lunchtime coma". So, these brilliant people who know so much about how to squeeze every ounce of joy out of life, take a nap. That's right, they TAKE. A. NAP! Businesses close for an hour or two in the afternoon to accommodate the "lunchtime coma" the Italians so wonderfully refer to as the siesta.
I'm guessing that by now, you're starting to agree with me. The Italians really do know how to take a lunch break. But, to make things just a bit better...and by that I mean INSANELY better. Right around 4:00, an hour or so after businesses have opened up again, these lovely, flamboyant, and altogether fabulous (in every aspect, but especially fabulous in regards to food, wine, and fashion) people go out for gelato.
I am most certain that all of my readers know what gelato is, but just in case...I'll explain. Gelato is rich, smooth, creamy ice cream. It is thicker than American ice cream and has more sugar and comes in the most exquisite flavors. When traveling in Italy, I always have the hardest time deciding what flavor I should try. You see, cups of gelato are teeny tiny...so you have to choose wisely because there are only a few little bites in each serving! My favorite flavor is pistachio, but they also have caramel, nutella, strawberry, chocolate, lime, cappuccino, and just about anything else you could ever want. To further entice you, I've included a picture of the "lineup" at a typical gelateria.
Now, as my own lunch break is starting to come to a close, I am slightly envious of the Italians and their picture perfect lunch break. But, alas, my little container of Chinese food is now empty, as is my diet coke, and it seems it is time to get back to the grind. I'll leave you with this, from the girl who writes a blog that is "just frivolous" the Italians have frivolity down to an art.