SMXL Milan

After 3 years presenting keynotes and content marketing sessions at int’l conferences around the world – Cleveland, NYC, London, Barcelona, Berlin, etc. –  I have finally been invited to present in Milan, Italy. Actually, I haven’t really been invited. I’ve discovered about the conference on the internet. I wrote 2 lines to the organisers. They answered, immediately (hat tip to SMXL’s organisation!). And now I am in.

It’ll be the first time for me attending a conference in Italy as speaker. Which is ironic. I am Italian. I speak the language. Actually, it’s my mother language. Not sure if it’s the lack of events or interest for content marketing; or maybe just the lack of interest of the Italians for other Italians. Italy wants speakers from the other side of the ocean. Italy in general loves all non Italian things.

Okay. I am now part of the speaker line-up and this makes me so happy. It’s great to be back to my town. Let’s work on a great presentation, now. And I hope to meet many many old friends.

#Amatriciana in London

Trying to list all restaurants in London supporting the #amatriciana aid campaign for survivors of Amatrice and the other small villages of Centre Italy decimated by the Wednesday 6.2 magnitude quake that’s killed at least 280 people to date.

Here is what I’ve found so far.


and


and


and


and


and finally

Moving South for a while

This blog’s editorial board (me) will move from London to Sicily tomorrow, but will still be very operational for a while – until Xmas dinners and drinks will rules. This will be more or less my view from tomorrow on (yes, slightly different from the one here in London, as you can easily imagine).

Etna vulcano
Etna vulcano
Once again Etna vulcano
Once again Etna vulcano

The Cappuccino’s rule

After long conversations with my girlfriend about whether or not it’s the case to order cappuccino after a meal (note: she is Italian, but too many years spent in the UK have dramatically modified her DNA), I decided to take this debate seriously and to search the web for details.

Let me start defining one of the most controversial Italian food rules: ordering a cappuccino after a meal is a visible sign of (coffee) ignorance.

Just google “why Italians don’t drink cappuccino after…” and you will get millions of articles confirming the rule.

Cappuccino in the afternoon? Never.  Cappuccino (in Milan: Cappuccio) is your welcome to the world in the morning, and it’s not to be repeated later in the day. It’s the thick, frothy and delicious cappuccino non-Italians enjoy drinking at all hours. But here in the Boot, it’s taboo to ask for a cappuccino after lunch, or, in general, after breakfast time.

In an interesting article in The Florentine, Julie Butterfield says that Italians obsess about digestion. It’s a cultural issue you get both from watching TV and from hanging around with Italians. There are no fibre drinks that make you regular, so common in the US but basically invisible in Italian pharmacies. But there are ads for yoghurt that help your digestion, because it’s what you eat, not what supplements you take, that counts in this country.

Aside from being bad form, there are sound dietary reasons for swapping the thick frothy latte with an afternoon espresso. ‘Italians cook and eat with purpose and intent; they recognize that milk contains fat, which is hard to digest, so if you tack that onto a big lunch, the unused calories get stored as fat, not nutrients (and thus, it’s a waste that goes to your waist).

In addition to this you have to consider another typical Italian habit: the order of food. Travelhopper writes about the order of meals in Italy: the appetizer (optional), the primo (pasta, rice or other starch-based element), the secondo (meat or fish, with side of boiled or grilled vegetables, sometimes salad), fruit and then dessert. Incidentally, you don’t have to eat all of these parts of the meal in one sitting — that is mainly for special occasions. The starch is considered the easiest to digest. The meat comes afterwards, harder to digest.  Whether or not this order of food would work for you this is the logic behind the structure of Italian eating, and understanding it helps understand all the rest.

Now, let’s go back to the Cappuccino’s rule. It is rather more complex. It comes down to the digestibility of milk in large, warm volumes. Whether or not you’re lactose intolerant, milk is filling. A proper cappuccino is made with whole milk, so it’s also fattening. Many Italians will consider this frothy beverage “breakfast” with just a few cookies dunked in, or even alone.

(…) The logic is really meal-related. Consider a cappuccino like a snack between meals. Had alone, it’s okay. Consumed right after another meal, it’s considered bad for your digestion, while the short espresso is considered a digestive.

So this is the story behind. Now you are free to order your cappuccino after a pizza. But don’t, don’t do it if you are in Italy. You will be immediately recognised as a rude food-ignorant stranger.