Pepperoni Pizza, Please!

by L'Oreal Thompson (Loyola College)
PIZZA. PASTA. GELATO. These are the three reasons I decided to study abroad in Italy of all places. Oh yeah, and to learn a little bit of Italian, too. From the very first day we arrived in Cagli, I found everything I wanted—and more! All of the pizza, pasta and gelato one girl can eat…and let’s just say I can eat a lot!

And so my food journey begins. Immediately I learned how to ask for margherita pizza, penne with pomodoro sauce and my favorite gelato flavor—un cono piccolo di panna cotta, grazie. It’s amazing how much you can learn when you’re hungry and the only way to get that glorious slice of pizza is to speak the language. No problema.

Allora (Italian for “Well…”—aren’t I cool?), speaking the language was one thing. Understanding it, I quickly learned, was quite another. During our first Monday night at Laterna, I confidently ordered what I thought would surely be pepperoni pizza—my favorite. And what could be better than pepperoni pizza in Italy?—the birthplace of that delectable deliciousness known as pizza.

“Vorrei una pepperone pizza, per favore, e da bere, Sprite.”

I smiled politely and smugly closed my menu. Job well done. Pepperoni pizza and a glass of Sprite, here I come! Or so I thought. When our helpful waitress later returned with a 14-inch thin crust pizza covered in actual peppers—red and yellow—I knew I’d made a mistake. Apparently “pepperoni pizza” in Italia comes with real, live peppers. Who knew?

However, it was a happy mistake. I never would have ordered pizza with peppers in the states, but I’m almost certain this may have been the best pizza I’ve had so far. The jury is still out on that one—after all, I still have three weeks left and a lot of “research” to do!