Happy Holidays! “The Sweetness of Life”

Happy Holidays, everyone! Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!

Thanks for being here and thanks for your support at the Moscato d’Asti Stories blog this year. As we head into Christmas and New Year’s, a time when we are reminded of life’s joys and sweetness, I’ve been thinking a lot about the expression la dolce vita.

Literally translated, it means the sweet life. It’s a phrase that was popularized by the groundbreaking film by Italian director Federico Fellini. Over the years, people have interpreted the expression to be a reference to the glamour and high-life of Rome’s famous Via Veneto where the rich and famous would go to frolic in the swinging 1950s.

But Fellini rejected that explanation. He always maintained that it was instead a reference to the way actor Marcello Mastroianni looks at the little girl on the beach in one of the film’s most enduring scenes.

Marcello, who’s abandoned his dream of becoming a writer and has resigned himself to being a gossip columnist, is reminded of life’s sweetness when he sees the innocent child. It distracts him briefly from the emptiness he feels inside now that he’s given up on his aspirations.

She reminds us, Fellini would say, that even in the darkness of life’s uncertainty, there is still a sweetness somewhere in there. The sweetness of life. When my family and I raise a glass of sweet Moscato d’Asti this Christmas, I’ll remember that line and that sweetness, the dolce vita that’s inside all of us.

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope and trust that you’ll be spending the holiday season with someone you love and a glass of sweet Moscato d’Asti.

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Jeremy Parzen
After obtaining his Ph.D. in Italian literature at U.C.L.A. in 1997, Jeremy Parzen moved to New York City where he shifted his focus to food and wine. By 1998, he was the chief wine writer for the English-language edition of La Cucina Italiana. In 2005, he published his annotated translation of Maestro Martino's 15th century cookery book, The Art of Cooking (University of California Press). In 2007, he launched his blog DoBianchi.com (named after the Venetian expression for two glasses of white wine). Since that time, he has published countless articles on Italian food and wine, including bylines for publications like Decanter and Wine and Spirits, which named him a "Master of Place" in 2017. Known for his humanist perspective onto the world of Italian enogastronomy, he works as wine and restaurant industry consultant from his home office in Houston, where he and his wife Tracie (a native Texan) are raising their two daughters. A former rock musician and songwriter, Jeremy continues to compose and record music with and for his family. He was honored to be named an Italian Association of Wine Merchants ambassador in 2018 for his "profound scholarship in the humanities, his great knowledge of winemaking, and his excellence in communications."

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