No, I am not a hater and while this post may offend some of my endless OG breadsticks and salad bar loving friends, than it was probably about time that we had this conversation. Due to a glitch in the TIVO, I was “forced” to watch this Olive Garden commercial last night and it has indeed left an impression on me, and not the kind intended. As yes, I have been to OG once or twice (we all make mistakes), and since break out in laughter anytime someone mentions that their chefs are trained at an authentic culinary school in Tuscany, Italy — maybe Tuscany, South Dakota? — and why is that? BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH DISH AS CHICKEN PARMIGIANA or FETTUCINI ALFREDO in Italy, the country, unless you eat at the most obvious tourist restaurant possible. Don’t get me started on the look of the Lasagne, the fact that the Tortellini al forno don’t look baked at all in the clip.
But maybe it is just me, a lover of authentic, regional Italian food, (thus also on the chubby side at times) who has been fortunate to travel to Italy from the early age of 3 years onward at least every other year, sometimes multiple times, a visitor to countless markets, osterias, trattorias, ristorantes, an avid reader of cook books, participant in cooking classes on actual Italian soil, friend to real Italian people (Giuseppe, Anna, Mauro…) and curator of many a “tour of Italy” who just can’t stop shaking my head???
The Examiner seems to agree and while this article about the “Worst Foods in America” featuring Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy dates back to 2010, I doubt much has changed.
Would love to hear from you, bring it on OG loving readers, explain to this Germaricain (German born and raised, but being slowly yet steadily Americanized) what the appeal of this place is for anyone seeking Italian food. And please, solve the mystery of classic, signature and premium pastas, such as “Zity with five cheese marinara” and last, but not least explain “Chicken Lombardy” to me, too – as it must be quite a special dish coming at an extra charge…
For actual pictures and an overview of this very special $12.99 offer, make sure to click here:
In case you wonder just about how many calories this “Tour of Italy by Olive Garden” sets you back, here is a first idea
And you may have missed this youtube clip “Italian Moms trying Olive Garden”, gotta love the NY accents 🙂
p.s. What’s for dinner at my house tonight? We were thinking Italian, if only Tony Roma’s Maccaroni Grill was closer… SMILE