Ti Amo, Italia! Part 1: A foodie’s dream.

Ciao! Mi chiamo Fiona. Ho studiato I media di bambini in Centennial College e ho finite il programma nel mese Agosto.

Through Centennial College’s GEO Program, I had the privilege of going to Italy with a group of 26 other students to learn conversational Italian, enjoy traditional Italian cuisine and immerse myself in Italian culture. It was my first time in Europe and I could not have asked for a better experience.

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Urbania is a quant town in the province of Urbino. It’s about 4.5 hours northeast of Rome. The family that I stayed with had 2 teenage children that understood and spoke some English. There were instances of Google Translate being used to communicate. The magical thing about conversing while there’s a language barrier is that one can still make sense of the conversation based on the time of day, the situation and the tone of someone else’s voice.

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I LOVE FOOD. Usually, I don’t seek out Italian food often since I don’t really enjoy pasta dishes unless they’re smothered in cheese… BUT having mild lactose intolerance limits my dairy intake to no more than 1-2 times a week. I do love gelato though. I would suffer a stomachache for tiramisu and bacio gelato ANYDAY!

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Colazione (Breakfast)
At the crack of dawn, my Italian father would go to the local bar to pick up fresh baked croissants for my roommate and I. To put it into perspective, the bar is to Italians as cafés are to North Americans. It was a bit of adjustment eating patisseries for breakfast every morning, but all is forgiven since the croissant con marmellata di pesca è molto delizioso!

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Pranzo (Lunch)
The first thing I noticed when given the school schedule was the 2 hour lunch breaks. Long lunch breaks are given for people to go home and eat together with their families. Local stores are closed midday for family time as well. One of my favourite food items for lunch was a pastry flat bread called the crostolo, which is traditional to Urbania. It can be sweet or savoury. I enjoyed mine with lots of greens, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

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Cena (Dinner)
The first couple of dinners in Urbania, I asked my Italian mom if the pasta that she’s serving us was homemade.  She told me no and that she used pasta from a box and proceeded to show me their cupboard filled with Barilla pasta (the Barilla commercials don’t lie – it’s a brand that Italians trust!). My Italian mom did eventually make us fresh pasta… and it was molto delizioso!

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Cena is a biggest meal of the day for Italians. Unlike North American society where you’re conditioned to have your biggest meal in the morning and eat less throughout the day, Italians have their meals the complete opposite. At the homestay, dinners usually started off with a pasta dish and then followed by a course of meats, veggies and lots of bread. The meal ends with fruit and coffee.

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Grazie Mille Centennial College! Grazie Mille Centro Studi Italiani! Ricorderò sempre il mio tempo in Italia!


Fiona Lui
Children’s Media – Post-Graduate Certificate Program

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