Peroni Nastro Azzurro 5.1% ABV
Years ago, my wife and I went on a trip to Rome. Neither one of us had any travel experience outside of the United States and this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us.
We were typical Americans, too. As much as we tried to understand things from guidebooks prior to arriving, we were still pretty culturally insensitive in many respects, namely food.
One morning, we went along a lovely street of shops near the Vatican—Borgo Pio, perhaps—and came across a fruit stand.
Vanessa looked at the peaches and picked one up. It wasn’t ripe yet, so she set it down and picked up another. The shopkeeper turned toward us and started yelling.
As hard as we tried, we had no functional Italian for this situation. I couldn’t tell you what he actually said, but it was, roughly, “What the hell! My fruit is all good. How dare you put it back. You buy it now!”
She bought the one in her hand, far from ripe it was inedible. Fail.
After lunch, we found a lovely gelato shop, that was empty. We went to the window and ordered some amazing gelato, then promptly sat down to enjoy it. The shopkeeper turned toward us and started yelling.
We knew this, but the three tier system in Italy slipped our minds. You pay one price for the window, true to-go service, another for eating outside on the store’s patio, and then another for indoor seating. We bought cheap and tried to slip in an “upgrade”.
We rushed out, embarrassed. Fail.
Finally, it was dinner time. We found a place where the menu outside mentioned “Tourists Welcome!” and decided that it was exactly what we needed after the failed quests of the day.
They had no menu. There was a display of food, you would point to what you wanted and they’d serve it to you. They only had one beer, the beer of Italy, Peroni.
Finally, we were eating a delicious meal in Rome (at least by the standards of our American tastebuds), I was enjoying a beer, and all without being yelled at or feeling stupid.
Peroni might be the Keystone Light of Italy for all I know, but because of that moment, it will always be a fine beer reminding me of a good time in Rome.