Paris: Finding Italy with Mary

The flavors of Italy, but not in Italy...
So I've become that person. "When I was living in Italy" is a phrase that comes out of my mouth and it's all I can do to prevent myself from hitting myself. Just stop it, Bryan, I say to myself. No one cares.

It's true. Living in Italy is no enormous accomplishment. Plenty of Italians do it, after all, and no one celebrates their achievement. But now that I'm back in Paris, I am trying to relive certain aspects that I grew to love. There were habits, flavors, and experiences that I miss. You might not care. I don't expect you to care. But it fills my days...

I've found decent pizza, but it's not as cheap. I can't find my Kimbo brand coffee, but the Lavazza at Monoprix will do for now. The supermarket even sells taralli, the little savory biscuits that I binged on each week in Naples.

But it wasn't enough. So, I did what any normal Franco-American expat back in Paris after nearly two years away would do. I got a girlfriend.

It's Mary, getting read to scoop me a cone!
Meet Mary. She's from Milano, fully Italian, and makes gelato in Paris. We met when I worked next to her first boutique in the Upper Marais. I worked at a coffee shop and made her espresso. She made offered me a cone of her delicious gelato. It was the purest of loves.

So she is my girlfriend now. Not romantically of course, but more like, "Hey Mary, how's it going, girl?" I just have to figure out how to express that sentiment in Italian. So far, I have, "Ciao bella," but it might be missing the mark.

Anyway, since we first met, Mary has moved locations, and I have not made espresso from a machine since 2010, but we have managed to stay in touch over the years. Her French has improved so that we can now communicate in full sentences, in both French and Italian. It's exhilarating.
Oh the choices...

While her linguistic skills have evolved, her gelato hasn't changed at all. It's still delicious as ever. She plays with her flavors, experimenting beyond the regular, expected chocolates and vanillas. She plays with matcha, orange blossom, and cilantro among others. I love walking into her shop to see what she's concocted that day.

I've been helping Mary with her PR because, well, her strong suit is making gelato. She's got a great product and I want to help Parisians and tourists alike know about her. Check her out on Facebook and give her a like. Or better yet, stop by at 60 rue du Temple in the Marais and say hi, and tell her you know me! She'll smile and probably say, "Bravo," or some other Italian exclamation. Drop a "grazie" in there somewhere and everyone will be happy.