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(said with an Italian accent): "Why, si signor, we'd be happy to loan you the money. If you could just drop off 100 prosciutto legs and a case of Brunello di Montalcino, we'll have a check ready in the morning. Grazie!"
Is it any wonder the Italians love life, food, and wine so much? Apparently, in what to me seems a remarkably enlightened economic decision, banks in Italy are considering accepting legs of prosciutto di parma (along with fine wines like Brunellos and Barolos) as collateral for loans. This slice of only-in-Europe-life was in an article today in the UK Guardian (thanks for the tip @karmeno on twitter). They already accept huge wheels of Parmagiano-Reggiano as loan collateral that they store in bank owned warehouses where they age it, and if the cheesemaker defaults they sell it. Try this at any U.S. bank....go ahead....I'll wait. What's that I hear? Laughter? Derision? And you can't even imagine this back and forth going on between a bank chairman and a U.S. cabinet official:
"We've done it with cheese, why not with prosciutto and good wines like Brunello di Montalcino and chianti classico?" said Gianni Zonin, chairman of the Banca Popolare di Vicenza and head of wine producer Zonin.
"This is a great idea, it has my blessing," said Luca Zaia, the Italian agriculture minister.
Ah, Italy, is it any wonder I dream of laying in your pork cured bosom?