Located in Perugia, approximately 30 feet from my apartment and right next to my school, is possibly the greatest place in the world—Papa Ciao Ciao’s. It is a tiny little shop that sells groceries such as fresh fruits and veggies, meats and cheese, pasta and sauce, bread and wine and some other things such as toilet paper, soap, cereal etc. But the store also sells some delicious “homemade” food. After class around lunch, it isn’t uncommon to see a huddle of students outside the store enjoying a Ciao Ciao panino. Preferisco un pannino con pollo, pomodoro, mozzarella, lettuca e salsa picante (My favorite Panini is with chicken, tomato, mozzarella, lettuce and a spicy salsa thing). But they have many different choices; you can get prosciutto, other meats and cheeses, eggplant, pesto and many other options. They also sell hot food! I haven’t tried too much hot food from the store, but one day in my food class, Simon (my professor) had two forms of eggplant to try. Both the battered kind and the breaded kind were amazing and we tried a marinated kind that wasn’t from Ciao Ciao’s but was still delicious nonetheless. We also had polenta from ciao ciao’s in our food class! I have also had a zucchini and cheese concoction from the store, green beans, bread, broccoli and a few other things…awesome! And I have had this great donut type thing; it reminded me a bit of a fashnacht with honey on it.
Anyway, the store is awesome but not just because of the amazing food and proximity to my humble abode. It is awesome because of Papa Ciao Ciao himself and his son Danieli! You see, the store isn’t actually called Papa Ciao Ciao’s and too be honest I don’t know what it is actually called. Some crazy Italian name I am sure, but it got its name because when you walk in the store you are immediately greeted with “Ciao Ciao” (insert Italian accent here) and of course a big smile!!!! And when you leave you get the same thing “Ciao Ciaooo”!! Papa Ciao Ciao is a cute older man with white hair and he is super sweet. Sometimes he will give us a free chocolate or something (and I am convinced he under charges me sometimes). No one knows his name so he is simply referred to as “Papa Ciao Ciao.” Danieli (spelling?) is also super sweet, attractive and always greets you with a smile. They know we speak hardly any Italian, and they speak very little English but they will help you and I have yet to have any problems figuring it out eventually. The best part is because we live so close we have become “regulars”. They know our faces super well and will wave to us when we walk past the store. We have started to be greeted with “hugs” because we are known so well! And whenever we need to pick something up, it is just a quick trip down to Papa Ciao Ciao’s! I will miss this store A LOT when I go back to the states!
p.s. hopefully I can fit 1 maybe 2 more blogs in before the dreaded leave date!