How do you say “happy as a clam” in Italian?

In Italian, when someone is as happy as a clam, you say that someone va in brodo di giuggiole, in other words, that she or he swims in jujube soup.

This sweet lady let me try one of her giuggiole in Arquà Petrarca. No Italian spoken here, just the sweet cadence of my beloved Veneto. Just to breath the fresh air of the Euganean Hills where Petrarch spent his last years of life fills my heart with joy.

She also let me try her sugolo, grape must pudding (made by boiling sweet grape must with flour). So yummy.

Lunch was served sotto una pergola (under a pergola), homemade pappardelle with fresh porcini (in season).

Fagottini stuffed with ricotta and pears.

I couldn’t resist the crostata di mele (apple pie).

Lunch with a wide selection of locally cured charcuterie, a pasta course, dessert, and wine (a Collli Euganei Pinot Bianco at a wonderful 12.5% alcohol!) was Euro 22 per person.

Have you ever taken a swim in jujube soup?

9 thoughts on “How do you say “happy as a clam” in Italian?

  1. Dang! That looks like my ideal lunch. When I lived in Florence one of my favorite dishes was fiocchetti alle pere con taleggio at the ever-popular Quattro Leoni. I’m a sucker for all things pear-related: I once ordered three pear-based courses at a restaurant in Arezzo. My wife (then girlfriend) created a similar meal for me the night of my 28th birthday.

    Looking forward to the next installment of the Do Bianchi Italia Tour ’10!

  2. There is a neighborhood restaurant in North Miami (run by a lovely man from Padua) where my father-in-law takes us whenever we visit. I get the same thing everytime–fagottini alle pere e formaggio!

    James: I will be staying in Arezzo for a week next summer. I would love to have the name of your “pear restaurant” in Arezzo and anywhere else you would recommend in the area…thanks.

  3. @Simona vuol dire un “pezzo grosso”, no?

    @Jeffrey there’s a famous (however bourgeois) expression in Italian: don’t let the farmer know how good pears and cheese are together. In other words, don’t shout what you’ve found.

  4. Jeffrey, the “pear restaurant” is called Osteria dei Mercanti. It’s in a small piazzetta just off Via Roma. I’ve eaten there a few times actually. In the summer you can sit outside and they do a fine panzanella.

    Another favorite place in Arezzo is a pizzeria called New Black Cat. It’s a bustling, often hectic joint populated by couples, families and teenagers. The owner, a perennially perspiring man named Valerio, will stand at your table just long enough to take your order and mop his brow before dashing off. It’s one of my top three pizzerias of all time and well worth the 10-15 minute walk out of the centro storico on Via Vittorio Veneto. I’ve been going since ’92 and always have the calzone (con pomodoro sopra).

  5. James:

    Thanks for the Arezzo restaurant recommendations–I have put them in my travel file for next summer’s trip (along with Quattro Leoni in Florence). We’ll be going to Venice, Rome, Naples, and possibly Sicily as well, and would love to hear about any other favorites of yours…thanks, Jeffrey

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