In a few posts back, I detailed navigating into a new chapter in San Francisco. It’s been a decision steadfast in the making. I spent last year a couple months at a time in this complicated California dreamy city on the Bay to see if I really wanted to make the leap.
The last 7 years in Florence have been extremely transformational, and in certain ways it is where I’ve become an adult and put down professional roots- you remember this is where my Florence food and drink tour baby was born then with Bologna tours to follow (and is still growing and still running- possible to an awesome team on the ground who leads and manages the tours so not to fret!) Hence, leaving Florence was not the easiest decision to make.
It’s now been since March I’ve happily landed in San Francisco and I’ve rarely missed Florence if I can be honest, for a litany of reasons. I genuinely love it here and am so glad I followed by gut instead of staying behind in Florence out of fear or resignation.
During this time, I’ve started to offer Italian wine lessons in San Francisco (hey- sign up here!) and slowly getting back on the writing horse. Albeit being so slow to update this space. I love writing and this transition has made my favored creative outlet suffer. I’ve pitched less stories while I try to find a balance in my newish life back in the states. I have managed to pick up a few assignments, including this listicle for where to drink Italian wine in San Francisco for Eater SF.
Ironically, I enjoy drinking Italian more in San Francisco than I do in Florence. Admittedly, as much as I’d like to be adventurous and appreciate the plethora of options available here, my loyalty in wines remain wholly Italian.
At least in Florence, wine bars are typically outdated and overrun with bottles of sangiovese. I don’t mean to poo poo on Florence and there are some wine bar gems who showcase Italian variety to be found especially in this list for where to drink wine in Florence listicle I compiled for your lush benefit.
My fierce opinion is that Italians are fervently loyal to their land. They have an emotional connection to it, its cuisine, the wines made there and will defend it all to the death. This sort of pride is what in part led me to fall in love with Italy and Italians, despite how much I seemingly deride both. They care so much and not everyone needs to be a sommelier or food professional to have great instincts towards quality, discernment and taste.
The average Italian knows how to discuss acidity, know what flavors match and have an incredible memory for taste. This is because somewhere along the line, someone in their family or a friend worked the land. They feel the pains of winter and keep track of dry sweltering summers. Eating with the seasons comes naturally, it isn’t some marketing ploy. Although, some idealistic aspects of Italian food culture have eroded and fear extinction.
At the end of the day, I wish to do nothing more than to dedicate my life to Italy. I was born to love this humble peninsula, I think. But at the same time, I’ve reached the end of my tolerance for all its pitfalls. There are many challenges hindering a progressive Italy and keeping bright minds behind in my opinion. It could be one of the greatest countries in the world. But Italians for the most part have become apathetic and those privileged enough inside continue to milk what’s left of Italian decadence, leaving behind a society which is unsustainable and stagnant for new generations. I have a harrowing view towards Italy and its future. But I will never give up wanting to be anywhere else. Nor give up believing this is one of the most special cultures on the planet.
Which brings me to my next point in the post title: back to Italy. Tomorrow I fly back to il bel paese for a couple weeks to first partake in a tour of the sparkling wine region Trento DOC put on by Ferrari Trento and then spend some time in Florence. It will be interesting to revisit now as I’ve switched my relationship with Italy. Meaning, progressing into the next chapter of my life in a new city (SF) but in my own troubled country, while maintaining a connection to Italy from a distance with periodic jaunts when it used to be other way around.
I’m thrilled to see Florence after these months of wearing different lenses.
If you’re curious about sparkling Italian wines and this unique part of Italy, be sure to follow along on instagram (I’m an avid stories poster) and watch this space for a full digest of the experience. Albeit a sponsored press trip, you can trust me to be honest in any of my observations and opinions. I wouldn’t agree to partake if I didn’t think there would be value to curious drinkers and Italophiles out there! Who knows, I could be totally wrong.
Then of course I’ll be in Florence too so I’ll spend day and night hitting the ground eating through my favorite places as part of updating my food & drink guides and tour stops.
In your Italian loving trust,