Hello you beautiful eyes! I have some news and updates I’d like to unpack for you, thank you for giving me your precious time and attention for a rather detailed (ahem, wordy) update.
I write you from San Francisco where I have been hiding out the last couple months. You may be wondering Aren’t you supposed to be in Florence telling us where to eat??? Giving tours? Quick backstory as to how my obsession with SF started then I’ll get back to my updates which include offering wine lessons in San Francisco’s Little Italy/North Beach.
You probably have read this wayyyyyyy too many times- but for those of you new to my blog: once upon a time I had a dream to move to Italy. So I applied for Italian citizenship, thanks to my Southern Italian roots (i.e. jure sanguinis). Then somehow I magically made it happen.
In 2010- a year after I graduated with a degree in Italian Studies from UW Seattle, the day had come where I could FINALLY pick up my shiny new Italian passport at my nearest Italian consulate which was in San Francisco. So it was an excuse to make a trip out of it!
It was one of my life’s the finest moments when I was able to pick up this passport and essentially became a European citizen, realizing my opportunities in life greatly amplified.
Having Italian heritage, I was determined from a young age to make Italy my life/career focus. Being able to legally live and work in Italy to me was essential for working towards my life’s goals. Thanks to this passport, I could make my dream a reality- as cheesy as it sounds.
Now that I am older and
wiser (realistic) and aware that life is an unfair, mysteriously cruel game peppered with nuggets of beauty, I do count my lucky stars. Moving to Italy gave me a plethora of beautiful memories, harsh life lessons, life-changing meals, dear friends and a baby I cherish daily in the form of my tour business.
Anyways back to that SF trip in 2010- After picking up my Italian passport, subsequent days were spent with friends and family visiting its iconic sights, quarters and most importantly, eating all the things at Tartine and Bi-Rite ice cream, after which I was sold on San Francisco.
In that trip, I recall applying for a couple jobs almost willing to throw my Italy plan out the window. Those job leads did not work out, so I kept on with my plans to move in Italy and in 2012 I made the leap. But I always kept San Francisco in the back of my heart.
In the last couple years, I began to question my life’s next steps. I started to grow frustrated with daily life in Florence. I questioned my happiness. I felt I had grown all that I could in Florence. And I wasn’t interested in moving to another Italian city. I thought- if I have to move again and start over, I’d rather be back on my West Coast.
Italians have a strong sense of place attached to their identity, which started to influence the perception of my own cultural/social identity. Anytime I left Florence to another part of Italy, other Italians would point out my adopted Florentine accent, thus leaving me with a sense of “appartenenza” (belonging) to Florence.
On the other hand, I feel this same sense of “appartenenza” to the West Coast. Realizing there are certain cultural distinctions compared to the rest of this massive country. I’m made aware of this when I am in the company of other Americans from different parts of the US. Perhaps most of us polyglots have a sense of split identities.
I struggled for years admitting that my dream to live in Italy was perhaps not meant to last forever. It’s okay for us to say an experience has run its course and its time to move on.
I felt apart of my identity was attached to living in Italy and feared I would loose a part of my identity by no longer living full-time in Florence. I was troubled at the prospect that perhaps I was taking for granted a life others wished for (i.e. a life in Italy). Who would I do if I moved back to America? Florence and working in Italy is all I have known for the last 7 years.
Then I came to terms with all of these understandable fears and insecurities. I couldn’t keep living somewhere just to appease an illusion of my identity. I consider what I am doing as a way of continuously moving forward, as long as I follow my passions and my gut.
So I thought about where I’d want to be in the US and revisited my puppy love for San Francisco, jaunting back and forth during 2018. I decided at the end of my last jaunt which ended in January of this year, I wanted to give San Francisco a chance (not just a couple months at a time) and put in the same blood, sweat and burrata I put into Italy into expanding my horizons with this city, I want to bring what I’ve learned in Italy back ‘home’ and promote what I love about Italian culture.
Allow me to answer a couple FAQ before I go on any further:
So cute story- you write a lot. Does this mean you no longer in Florence?
No- it just means I’ve figured out how to make both my home. To me, Italy has been mine since 2005 and I will always consider Florence a home. Thanks to things like Airbnb (which has its issues for sure), I can keep my place in Florence so I can travel freely. I will still jaunt back to Florence throughout the year, so I’m not saying goodbye by any means. Only now I consider San Francisco my other home, call me a residence polygamist! I’ll see you again my Florence in the Fall!
I’ve put in my dues, I spent years (and gained several kilos which I’m currently torturing myself to loose) scouring the city to understand its food landscape. I spent years in the food & drink sector working my way up, starting with precarious work to writing and starting a business. Of course you never stop learning, my I believe I got all I could from Florence.
What about your tours in Italy?
The tours are still alive and kicking! Sign up for one should you find yourself in Florence or Bologna! The truth is people expand and grow- I started Curious Appetite Tours as a one woman show (I worked insanely hard, bound to burn out had I kept that model forever) and it was only natural (and healthy) as an entrepreneur to expand into a team-driven enterprise.
Thankfully, I am able to continue thanks to an awesome network of colleagues on the ground- and of course lots of organization. I can’t begin to express my gratitude towards my colleagues in Italy- they go above and beyond in keeping the ship powering through while letting me know when food starts to suck somewhere. I still spend significant time out of the year in Italy, and I use that time to quality control both my dining guides and tours.
These tours and my writing are my babies and they will always be mine, but babies grow and begin to walk on their own.
In hopes that now I have answered these questions, allow me to tell you all about how you can eat and drink with me in San Francisco!
One of my goals in San Francisco is to promote Italian culture through special events and tastings. So for those of you in the bay area- I invite you to partake in some activities I have developed (like a really cool Italian wine tasting lesson) and join some events I have in the works! (Think Italian wine paired pop-up dinners or Negroni week events) I will always shout events/things out on Instagram/Facebook so be sure to follow along there!
After completing sommelier training, the synapses started to fire differently and I’ve tumbled deeper into the rabbit hole of wines. I finally begun to understand how to break down the complex world of Italian wine simpler than I could before. I want to put this training into use with fun yet educational Italian wine lessons in San Francisco! Not stuffy classroom type lessons- I am determined to take the snobbery out of wine and will do my best with these guided Italian wine tasting “sessions.”
If you are in San Francisco and would like to learn more about Italian Wine and food pairing basics, consider booking a lesson, or as I like to call them “session” with me! They are 2 hours long and are held at a wine tasting studio in the heart of North Beach, San Francisco’s Italian district. While I understand the Italian identity of North Beach feels eroded, I hope to bring a microscopic bit of Italy to it.
All lessons come with food pairings like Italian cured meats and a mix of local and Italian prized cheeses, marinated condiments and breads or crackers. More info is on the site!
I believe I have written a novel at this point. And if you managed to make it to these words, I commend and thank you beautiful, generous eyes.
In your wordy Italian trust,