Italy, Mia Emilia, and Finding the Music During These Trying Times

No doubt, by now we have all heard about the COVID-19 and the extreme measures Italy is taking to contain the virus.  Our own country has introduced measures these past few weeks to prevent spreading the virus.  

At Mia Emilia, we have been keeping in close contact with our producers and friends in Italy, and we want to reassure you that our producers are healthy, continuing to create the artisanal products we all love, and we continue to offer them (and enjoy them ourselves!) free from interruption.

Our producers continue to work in incredibly clean facilities, many of which we have visited personally.  Using traditional methods and only the purest ingredients, we are assured that the products we chose for their quality and flavor are also good for our health. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oils like our Marini Giuseppe Toscano IGP and Dievole Chianti Classico DOP are required to meet tough regulations from where the olives grow to how they are cultivated, pressed and even packaged.  Very few oils earn these prestigious seals, so you can feel confident that you are eating and serving the very best when you choose an EVOO from Mia Emilia.  These high-quality oils are packed with health benefits we have discussed in prior articles.  Click here to read more.

Our Balsamic Vinegars from Acetaia Castelli come from some of the most passionate producers one could ever hope to meet.  The thing about passion is it produces the highest quality.  Someone passionate about what they create becomes a Michelangelo of their field, because if what they create is not the absolute best, they cannot stop working until it is. 

From the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena IGP to the White Balsamic Dressing, Apple Balsamic Vinegar, jams and glazes, Mia Emilia’s vinegar products are a perfect choice for those who want excellent flavor and are also health conscious. 

Mia Emilia’s pastas are nothing like you find in boxes on grocery shelves.  Ours are all artisan made with local flour like semolina or spelt and farm fresh eggs in our egg pastas.  Without the additives and commercial factories, the pasta is purer, texture is authentically Italian, and flavor is unmatched.

To cheer us up during times like these, sometimes we need a little something sweet.  Our chocolates are also finely made, by people who know and love the best possible techniques and ingredients. 

I awoke this morning to a message from a friend who lives half of her year in a small town called Pozzuoli in the region of Campania, where Mia Emilia’s Torrone is made.  The culture in Italy is a close one.  People kiss on the cheek when they great each other, walk arm in arm when speaking to friends, stand elbow to elbow sipping coffee at the bar in the morning.  It is very much a culture of togetherness.

Right now, the bans are forbidding all of that, and the people are hurting.  They are afraid.  Not only for the virus, but for their livelihoods and now also way of living.  My friend told me that in Pozzuoli the musicians are planning to come out on their balconies tonight and play music to cheer their neighbors, families, and no doubt, also themselves.  Later this morning I saw that Florence and other towns all over Italy are planning to do the same to bring some joy back into quarantined lives.

Reading that this morning nearly brought tears to my eyes.  It’s the essence of Italy and Italians that I know and adore.  Make music amid heartache.  Use poverty to create the best tasting recipes in the world.  Console and strengthen one another.  Smile in the face of disaster. 

This is a country and a people who have faced volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, economic turmoil, black plague, pirate invasions, wars too many to count.  They can certainly weather this storm.  We can help them, as we help ourselves to eat a healthy diet by buying their quality products. 

Most of my friends and contacts in Italy right now are terrified.  Not of the virus or getting sick, but of losing their jobs and their lifestyles.

A driver I know wrote to me that his life and future is in God’s hands and he trusts.  A friend told me her children are crying, not to see their friends or go outside to play, but to visit their grandparents again.  I heard a story of a man crying in the street because he was forced to let his employees go.  People are hurting, immensely.  Still, they make music. 

Throughout all of this, Italians have been resolute in following the rules and requests to stay home, going as far as to create their own hashtag, #iorestoacasa, meaning, “I stay at home”. 

As our own country takes measures to control the virus here, I hope that while we are concerned for the health and economic aspects of this, we too can continue to make music and enjoy our lives, keeping everything in perspective. 

My husband and I returned from a wonderful trip to Italy the day the story broke that Milan and Venice were taking drastic measures to contain the virus.  We were not afraid while we were there and have felt great since our return.

Still, many friends and my husband’s office asked that we stay away for two weeks.  We decided that instead of being miserable or angry, we would enjoy the time together.  Time we would have spent in the car, we instead spent on walks and in the kitchen. 

We made meals and created recipes based on the ones we enjoyed together in Italy.  Without the rush of normal life, we took the time to taste the spice and fruitiness in our Marini Giuseppe Olive Oil, and we used a little more than normal.  We sipped wine that tastes of the Tuscan countryside we love and remembered the passionate voice of the wine maker as he introduced his vines to us at sunset.  

All in all, it brought us closer together and put life into perspective. 

During this time, while stress and fear is rampant, at Mia Emilia, we are trying to focus on the positive aspects, that maybe this can restore our enjoyment of great meals made at home with the people we hold dear. 

In the spirit of that, Mia Emilia is offering a discount from now through March 31st to encourage you to be able to enjoy our quality products and some special time with your family.  Enjoy 10% off of your entire order when you enter the code: EATATHOME10 on your online order or mention it to a staff member in store.

For local clients who normally shop at our retail store, we want to be sure you know that you are always welcome to give us a call at 330-212-4479 to place your order, or order online with the word, “local” and you will not pay shipping.  Mia Emilia will gladly deliver your order right to your home free of charge. 

Of course, for local clients and those all over the country, ordering online remains a safe and efficient option.

Let’s love our friends far and wide as we get through this together.  Support each other, love each other, and wash our hands. 

We pray for the health of friends and family, far and wide.  Stay healthy.  Stay positive.  Stay kind.

And always, mangia bene!