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Tis Returns to Italy! Day 74: Finding the Right (Im)Balance

Today was all about finding the right (im)balance in gelato, pints, and celebrating…

Celebrating in Lecce Italy

The Elusive Perfect Gelato Combo

Gelato at Martinucci in Lecce Italy

After 2 ½ months in Italy, I have faced the fact that I am a gelato snob. Despite there being an embarrassment of riches when it comes to gelato offerings in Italy, I have become very difficult to please. There has to be the perfect combination and how well the flavors in that pairing are delivered.

After tasting many combinations, I have settled on dark chocolate/sour cherry as my perfect pairing. However, I find it difficult to achieve the perfect pairing from one gelateria.

Today at Martinucci, a popular pasticceria/gelateria with many locations in Italy, I ordered the sour cherry/dark chocolate (known here as amarena/fondente) combo. The sour cherry was far too timid in flavor. Sour cherry, by definition, should be bold. Martinucci should more accurately call their version “cream with a touch of cherry”. However, the fondente was sheer perfection. It was rich without overdoing it, achieving the perfect indulgence without being obnoxious about it.

The Perfect Pint

Later that evening, after taking a few afternoon work calls, I went out to meet my new friend Sarah from England. We met last night while having a wine at the same caffè and are both traveling around alone. We met at the local pub, Ruben’s, to have a pre-dinner drink.

For our pre-dinner drink, we both ordered a half-pint. I love beer. I won’t deny it. Nothing beats a good pint. However, I have grown quite fond of the half-pint option. If I am watching a big football match like a World Cup game or a good Manchester Derby, keep the pints coming. However, some moments are perfect for a half-pint.

Celebrating the End of an Ugly Corporate Chapter

Dinner at Il Volo in Lecce Italy

Tonight, I asked Sarah to help me celebrate the end of an ugly corporate chapter. I’d experienced some crazy human behavior this past year with a situation to which I had made a commitment. Today I was finally at a point where I could complete my obligation and responsibly disassociate myself from the negativity. After this afternoon’s call, I was free!

Sarah was like an immediate “bestie”. She supported my goal, honoring my request not to spend too much time talking about it and more time celebrating that it was over. To kick off the celebrations, we ordered a bottle of wine. To accompany that bottle, we ordered a nice meal including a highly recommended local meat dish that came with vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce.

After taking a bite of the highly recommended meat, I wish we had sat outside and there was a local dog nearby to feed it to. I could have dined on the veggies alone which were incredibly tasty but not overdone. I suppose the meal was imitating my half-incredible gelato experience earlier as well as the ups and downs of my ugly corporate chapter.

However, the wine did not disappoint!

Letting it All Hang Out

Sometimes you just need to go out and tie on one. After my nightmare corporate experience, this was one of those nights. However, Italians pride themselves on balance in life. Rarely will you see one overindulging in anything, especially alcohol.

Well, pin a rose on your nose. I was unapologetically celebrating with some overindulgence. Sarah was my willing accomplice. After dinner, we made another stop for some more wine. At this point in a celebration, one always thinks it is a good idea to take many photos. My camera roll becomes a bit of a blur at this point, which was incredibly funny the next day after the hangover wore off.

As we were finally heading toward our apartments, we got the brilliant idea to check the 24-hour vending machines for a beer nightcap which of course we desperately needed. Sarah had done this before and said we just needed to insert money and identification. Thankfully, the city of Lecce’s 24-hour vending machines do not stock alcohol. The morning after was fun enough without putting a topper on it.

What is the Right Balance in Life?

While I fully support finding balance in life in most things, there is nothing wrong with taking an occasional night off to tip the scale…

Ciao for now!

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