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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Got Milk?

Sometimes there is just too many good things about Tuscany. Things that make you go AHHH or OHHH. When driving around on all those crazy, winding, skinny little roads you never know what might be responsible for making you utter (or in this case, udder) a "I'm astounded" sound.

Admittedly, there are the predictable awesome (and, by the way, it really irritates me that the current youth population uses this wonderful word to describe something as idiotic as a new tshirt or some unusual body piercing. The definition of the word is meant to be applied to the likes of Michelangelo's "David"....truly awesome) landscape scenes, the picturesque hill top villages, the vineyards... there are hundreds of moments which can produce guttural-inducing sounds.

There is also the unpredictable moments of astonishment. Those I-never-expected-this" moments. But this is Italy and, bottom line, at this point in my relationship with the country I love and lust after, I am never really surprised anymore. Amused perhaps is the better descriptive word.

Amusement is what is felt when rounding the corner on a very small country road out in the middle of nowhere and being blinded by a brightly colored sign, "Distributore Automatico" - Latte Fresco".... and added in English, "Fresh Milk".

What's this? An automatic fresh milk dispensing machine? In the middle of the Tuscan hills? Okay, so I was a bit more than amused. I was surprised. But not awed.

Yes, it was a milk machine.... in the land of wine. Yes, those enterprising Italians never miss an opportunity to serve their fellow man or woman, even kids in this case. And to make a few denari.

The blinding sign with the arrow pointing directions sits beside a lane leading to a farm (there is also a life-sized plastic cow to attract your attention) and to the structure protecting the dispensing machines. Put a few coins in the first machine and select a plastic or glass bottle. Next machine renders the incredibly fresh cold milk. Unpasteurized to boot! (There have been no noticeable side effects reported so far.)

The friendly farmer was asked whether the milk hoses were connected directly to the cows. He answered, smiling,"Sfortunatamente no, ma li sto insegnando a mungersi da sole." ("Unfortunately not, but I am teaching them to milk themselves.")

What's not to love about this awe-inspiring country? Now, if they will add "Distributore Automatico - VINO", that would be awesome.

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