Now that the empty bottles of DOC wine are starting to build up in my recycling pile, I am embarking on a new avenue in my exploration of the gastronomical pleasures of Italy: cheese.
This, however, is not a post about cheese. Instead, to pre-empt the feelings of intense jealousy that you will no doubt feel when I do post endless lyrical paragraphs about the delights of all things caseic (I had to do a reverse dictionary search to find that word – isn't the internet amazing?), this is a post about Italian butter.
Which is pallid, insipid, bland, colourless, flavourless, looks like lard and doesn't even have salt in it to make up for the lack of any other flavour.
Two weeks ago, I made a batch of shortbread to take to Verona, using ordinary supermarket butter. It's still in a box in my cupboard. I couldn't even bring myself to eat it myself, never mind give it to my friends as an example of fine Scottish cuisine. It's that bad.
Today I went to the supermarket and paid 2.87 euros for a packet of Lurpack lightly salted. Visitors to Milan, don't bring me baked beans or Marmite. Bring me Kerrygold.
Italians don't eat much butter. I don't know if this is because the butter is bad, or if they don't bother to make the butter good because they don't eat much of it.
Or maybe they just keep all their good dairy products for making cheese :-)