Louie Salvoni Blog

Che cosa e’ Bovril

Posted on - 21/06/12


Thinking about the influx of foreign visitors for the Olympics I’m wondering how they will view our coffee culture. Lots of people think that London coffee scene is diverse, creative and vibrant at the moment. There are some that think it’s not all about London and there’s some top stuff going on elsewhere in the UK but not getting the recognition it deserves. I tend to agree with both views.

But what of our forthcoming guests’ views.

9 years ago, 2003 to be precise, I was at the European Cup Final between AC Milan and Juventus. So picture the scene, over 60,000 Italians in the stadium. However the stadium happened to be in Manchester, Old Trafford to be precise.  Now did this make a difference to the fans? Not at all, they were up for the game. It was a typically dull, defensive, goal less, first half. They felt at home and were  surrounded by their compatriarts. That was until it came to half time. We all trooped to the food and beverage areas I was behind two Italians as they discussed the match and casually broke from their  conversation to ask the barman for two espressos. In fine Mancunian he barked back “D’ya what? Tea or Bovril?” One Italian turned to the other and said “ Che Cosa e’ Bovril?” (Translated What is Bovril). His friend looked at him blankly and then turned to me. I wasn’t going to go down the road to try and explain that one so ordered two teas and left sharpish.

That was a long time ago and I’m sure that you can get an espresso at Old Trafford today. Most of the Olympic visitors will be in and around London and the many of them from countries where they have strong coffee heritage and culture. Would be good to know what they thought. Perhaps Jeffrey from Allegra could organise a poll. I know two things for sure.

1)      They will be shocked at the price of  a cup of coffee

2)      They won’t be ordering Bovril


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