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Posts Tagged ‘personal touch’

As per twitter, this morning did not start off too well. Alarm not set, got up half an hour late, then Fran screaming at me about the cakes we must bake and bring to school, Stef stressed, checking the time. But I cook 15 pancakes in 10 minutes, Fran slurs on the Nutella, we get out of the door and onto our bikes after screams from various members of the family have confirmed to the neighbourhod that we are the most trashy family in town…

But then all well…Decide today is definitely a day to go for a coffee in my by now local bar, Caffe Vatta, and meet Davide (neighbour who thankfully was out of  his house early enough this morning not to hear the screams). He treats me to a caffe latte and I pick his brains for possible venues for my Wordplay workshops (he’s an estate agent – handy). No glimmers of hope until he remembers a S. Bosco (he of the Italian supermarket chain) who has a room above one of his supermarkets downtown that is only occasionally used. Could be perfect. And in true Italian style, this would be a ‘racommandata’ – ie. an introduction through a friend – and so therefore much more likely to materialise into something…  Let’s see.

Then I trundle off to Aldo’s the fishmonger, tell him that although the wild sea bass I bought last time was wonderful I can’t be doing spending that much on a family meal. But I’d still  prefer to buy fish that weren’t endangered, or farmed, or fed antibiotics (but can’t be bothered to do the research myself, I could have added). He went through all his gorgeous looking fish:

“Signora, ci sono tre tipi di pesci.”  

Madam, there are three kinds of fish.

This one is farmed and fed antibiotics – “non la consiglio”; this one is farmed, but naturally, in the sea and not fed anything, they just can’t swim very deeply, and they’re a bit limited in their enclosures; these, on the other hand, are fished in the open sea. The sea bass is expensive, but this, for example ‘Dorato’ – it’s also called ‘salpa’, remember that Signora – is not so expensive and it’s very good.”

So I took some – and fresh anchovies for the cat. We all eat well here!  

This is really what I was hoping for – my very own personal fishmonger, who can help me choose the fish, and tell me how to cook it. How great is that? 

That’s generally what I love about living in Italy – often there is the time and space for these kind of encounters – the very thorough, personal touch, with people who really know (and need!) their business. Yesterday, for example, Fran and I went to the dentist’s (she’s getting braces in 2 weeks) and he gave me the most thorough (if painful) clean of my teeth I have ever had. Last week we went to a furniture store and had a personal assistant who guided us around the shop, looked through catalogues with us, introduced us to the boss who gave us a “personalised discount” – and then presented us with a ceramic jug as a take away gift.

Obviously, it’s all for sales – but certainly helps to soften the chores.

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