Photo cred - panoramitalia.com
Italians have been settling in Montreal since the late 1800s. Which basically means that we've been here for a while. Despite this, Italians have managed to hold on strong to the traditions that make us so great. And add a unique dash of Montreal in there, too. The result is a hybrid of Montreal and Italian culture. It's a thing of beauty, guys. Read on for 10 Things All Montreal Italians Will Understand.
1. The feeling when Italy is playing
Nothing says community more than when Gli Azzurri play. We all know the ritual: get to your favourite bar hours before the game starts to get a seat, grab an espresso, point yourself towards the T.V. screen, and let build the communal feelings of anxiety/excitement. When Italy wins, prepare to get into your car and celebrate with a procession through Little Italy/St. Leo. If they lose, then the only thing sadder than the defeat is the cloud of disappointment in the air for days on end (I carry the emotional scar of when Italy lost to Spain in the 2012 Euro final with me to this very day).
2. Nonna's glare when you tell her you're full
Is there even a word for 'stuffed' in Italian? Yes there is. But don't say it in front of your nonna. Not unless you're down for a hurtful glare, a lecture, and a serious hit on that Easter busta. Okay, that last one's kind of drastic. You might just get ignored and made to shovel another plate full of raviolis into your mouth. Hurts so good, my friend. Hurts so good.
3. Speaking 'Frengtalian'
Which I'm pretty sure I just made up, but anyway. Frengtalian is the Italin-French-English Frankenlanguage we've all universally picked up via our parents/grandparents/neighbourhoods. We all know it. And don't pretend you don't feel a little more comfortable whenever you hear someone outside of St. Leo say, "state bene, today il fait froid." Bonus points if you talk with your hands while doing it. So basically, bonus points for everyone.
4. The first Milano's iced coffee of the summer
There's something about sitting on the terrasse at Cafe Milano at night that just screams summer. Maybe you're eating a chicken sandwich. Maybe you're checking your phone. Maybe you're surrounded by a group of friends. But one thing's for sure: you're sipping an ice coffee, and it's amazing.
5. The moment when you walk into your favourite bakery
Maybe it's Patisserie Montebello on Fleury; maybe it's San Pietro on Jean-Talon; or maybe you're a fan of Patisserie St. Martin in Laval. Although our places might be different, the feeling's the same. Make a sandwich, fill up a box with a dozen pastries, take a cannoli for the road, and rest easy with the knowledge that shit's about to get delicious.
6. Being irrationally excited for that wedding this summer
And trust me, there's a wedding. There's always a wedding. Of course, ain't no wedding like an Italian wedding. Where else would you be able to get dressed up, eat a ten course meal, reconnect with your awesome family, turn up to L'Italiano, and gorge yourself at the sweet table? Just don't get too drunk in front of i zie. And don't forget to say bye to everyone when you leave.
7. Being irrationally excited for literally any holiday
Guys, Easter is soon. Do you know what that means? Food for days. Literally days. Plus you get to gossip with your cousins, see all your zias and zios, crack open a bottle of homemade wine... and the best part is that this doesn't just apply to Easter. San Giuseppe? Prepare to bring zeppole to every Giusseppe and Giuseppa in your family. Birthdays? Four course meal, here we come. Christmas? Forget about it. Nobody does holidays quite like we do.
8. Searching Panoram to see if anyone you know will be there
What's the first thing you do when you get your newest issue of Panoram Italia? Head straight for the "Living Italian Style" section and see if anyone you know is there. Don't lie. We all do it.
9. The nostalgia of watching the fireworks at the Pompei Feast
Or any Italian feast; take your pick, back in the day there were tons. Today their popularity has died down and they're not always as fun as they used to be. But don't pretend that seeing all your friends at Parc des Hirondelles (AKA Pompei Park), grabbing a grilled salsiccia, and sticking around to watch the fireworks wasn't the highlight of your summer when you were younger.
10. Going shopping with your nonni
Another throwback to your younger days, who doesn't remember being left with nonno and nonna while your parents were working? And who doesn't remember tagging along on a shopping adventure? S/O to the Jean Talon Market, Standa on St. Michel, and the Gals for being hotspots for nonni everywhere back in the day. And S/O to to our grandparents for taking care of us and teaching us how to shop.
Did I leave out your favourite part about being Italian in Montreal? Leave me a comment and let me know!