False (Food) Friends: when things aren't quite how you expected.

Anyone whose ever attempted to learn a language has probably come across the term "false friends".

Sneaky little words that look like English words but don't really mean the same thing.

sensibile in Italian means sensitive, not sensible.
and eventualmente is a way to say if necessary/if needs be, not eventually.

Well Thanks Italian.

As if learning a language wasn't hard enough already.

Recently I've been mislead in the same kind of way with Italian food.

You scan the menu not having a clue what half the things mean (often at lunch at work I just have to order on a whim, not sure what will end up on my plate) but then there's an English word thrown in and you think you've found a little bit of British cuisine! (which believe me is a BIG deal when you live abroad).

In reality it's just a stolen English word that is being used completely out of context. This can be very frustrating/sad/surprising depending on whether or not you have an Italian friend to come to the rescue.

So here's my list of False Food Friends, so you (hopefully) won't ever be caught out in Italy.

1).Toast = Toastie
No, no, no!
Ok so this one is simular, but there's still a big difference between two slices of cripsy bread slathered with nutella and a chunky, cheesy toastie.
And I'm not really sure why, but this one really irritated me. The words are so simular so why couldn't they have just called a Toastie a Toastie!

This place in Monza literally just did Toasties or Soup. Pretty specific market there.
That's one large toastie!
2). Curry
Not the chicken tikka or masala kind. "pasta curry" from what I can gather (and a bit of good old wikepedia) is pasta with a sauce that uses the spicy powders that are normally found in "our" versions of curry. (but as I've found out spicy in Italy does not equal hot).
I've never actually had it myself as the first time I saw it on the menu I actually thought it was curry with pasta in it. Gross. But I should've known, Italians would never do such a thing!

3). Pizza Americana
You know how sometimes a pizza just isn't enough and you want some chips on the side?
Well in Italy it ain't no side. I went to a restuarant where they put the chips ON the pizza, baked into the mozzerella.
And I'm not even sure this is one for the tourists because my Italian friend ordered one.
Therefore must equal legit Pizza in Italy, well in the North at least. I think Naples (inventor of pizza) might have something to say about that.

4). Cioccolata calda (hot chocolate) 
Don't be fooled, this is no way at all like an English hot chocolate. Like really really not.
But how different can a warm chocolatey drink be? Turns out a lot.

I had yet to try the version here when (another) Italian friend told me about her disappointing trip to Starbucks in England. "it was just so watery, like chocolate nesquik".
Watery? Err ok then.
"yeah they're really different from Italian hot chocolate". To be honest I didn't know what she was on about; every hot chocolate I've had in England has been perfectly milky and creamy and yummy.

Then I made the mistake of ordering one in Italy.

Oh. no.

It was so thick and so creamy it was almost solid - more like ganache than a drink, so you kind of had to eat it with a spoon. And, probably the worst thing, was that it hardly tasted chocolatey at all. None of that sweetness of Cadbury's, just the dull taste of cream.

Big thumbs down for the Italian hot chocolate.

I think I'll just stick with the cappucino's from now on, although maybe I just need to get used to it. But then again, just thinking about that cup of solidified chocolate makes me feel queesy.

But it's ok, I got my boyfriend to bring me the proper stuff over when he came to visit.

I don't care what anyone says, nothing is better than Cadbury's!
The hot chcocolate, among other things he bought me!
That's how it's done my friends
5). Fish and Chips
When I ordered this at the Streat Food Festival in Milan, I knew getting the battered cod and chips we all love was stretching it. But I was just too intrigued to see what Italy would make of this British classic.

Chips and mini squid (or octopus I'm not really sure to be honest). Hmm interesting. After I got over my fear of eating something with tentacles, it was actually very yummy, but of course nothing on proper fish and chips.

BUT despite all this, there is one thing I've found that seems to be the same in every country.

Kebab! (sometimes spelt kebap for some unknown reason).

Yeah I know, shame on me for eating kebabs when I'm in a country full of amazing cuisine.
And shame on me for being so happy about the fact that it's not only the same as back home, but also that there's one in my tiny town in Italy!
 But you know, sometimes it's just one of those nights that calls for a kebab. You know the *whispers* alcohol-related ones. And really, even the non- alcohol ones.

Because everyone wants a kebab now and then.

A perfect example of: you can take the girl out of England but you can't take England out of the girl!