Some words don’t require explanation, they simply generate emotions and stir senses all on their own. One such word is continental. It makes me hungry in the morning, it makes me long for holidays while I’m working, it comforts me in the evening. The first time I remember hearing it was when a family friend bought their son a duvet – back then, they were known as ‘continental quilts’. That sounds hilarious in 2008 but, for people on these chilly northern islands, it was evocative of European style, culture and comfort, a crisp, minimalist and sophisticated world away from the copious layers of blankets we were used to shivering under up here. Naturally, the word also evokes images of wishful holidaymaking; not 18-30 beer’n’Bermuda shorts orgies in high rise hotels, but lazy afternoons on quiet beaches, long, late lunches and glorious, mountainous vistas.
For me, though, it means breakfast. A perfect cappuccino and a warm, soft croissant, preferably enjoyed at a table in the forecourt of an Italian street café on a hazy summer’s morning, just as the piazza awakes and the Vespas start buzzing. I’m daydreaming the scent of Pietrasanta just typing this.