I don’t post about every brioche I eat. I like to think that, instead of being lazy, I don’t write about them all to save you all from some very sad times. It’s an act of courtesy, really. As interesting and diverse as the Italian brioche can be, it is still a very sad, sorry state of affairs our there. It’s a world inhabitated by a few too many vending machines, trucks and plastic bags. Instead of being hand-rolled and shaped like they are in my mind, the majority of brioches are made on a conveyor belt.
There was one, however, so exceptionally strange it deserves attention: a farro and chocolate brioche from That Bar Across from the University. Let’s examine the situation because, just like the pastry itself, it was a bit unorthodox.
It was a rainy Friday morning. I woke up early to have breakfast and a coffee before heading to a nine am lesson. Cruelly, the teacher was fond of starting the lesson precisely as the church bells rang out the hour and not, like other Italian professors, fifteen minutes later. By the time my second class of the day rolled around two hours later all I could think about was lunch. I was hungry.
I thought I would just guzzle my water and be done with it. But, no. I knew a small snack would be the only thing that would make the interminable lesson before me a bit shorter. In a moment of daring, I grabbed my wallet and my coat and ran from the classroom to the bar across the street from the university. I just hoped I would make it in time.
As I stood in front of all the slightly wonky bio pastries I was overwhelmed with choice. Not wanting a cookie this early, I chose the moderately healthy alternative: a brioche made with farro and chocolate. I have no idea where the farro was in this. I have no idea how something truly bio can be wrapped up in a plastic package. All I knew was that I was hungry and wanted something to eat now.
I ran back to the classroom and opened the plastic wrap. The smell of artificial pastry emananted through the room, which would have been awkward if other students weren’t eating plastic-wrapped foods with equally strange smells. I took a bite and tasted nothing. I tasted the same packaged cornetto you would find from Mulino Bianco. It was gross, but I was hungry and I had just paid two gosh darn euros for this thing. I took another bite and got to the sickly sweet chocolate. Why, Italy? Why?
People think Italy is all about quality, but, like every other country in our modern world, conveince is becoming increasingly dominant. Sure, you can find fantastic and authentic brioches, but just because something is Italian doesn’t make it better. I might prefer getting a farro and chocolate brioche to placate unexpected hunger than the bag of peanut m & ms I would have chowed down on in England, but the idea is the same. Our societies are flattening out, for better or for worse.
And that is why I don’t blog about every cornetto I eat.
What is the weirdest/worst/strangest packaged food you’ve ever eaten?