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Some simple things that other countries do seem so obviously intelligent, you have to wonder why your own country can’t manage it. The distribution of milk – delicious, same-day, unpasteurized, farm-fresh milk – in many parts of Italy is one such example. The very fact that citizens are allowed (gasp!) to drink unpasteurized milk is itself a triumph of intelligence. In Canada, despite the fact that today’s bovine hygienic standards take the risk out of the stuff, pure milk is still seen as kryptonite to our species.

So imagine my delight on seeing two machines that give me what I want, at any hour of the day or night. Milk bliss.

A little rain-proof kiosk with bottles to the right and the Marvelous Machine. The pink warning says you’re not supposed to drink it until after you’ve boiled it – a health precaution that also (according to comments on this blog) keeps the milk for longer.

Marvelous Machine in action. We saw this on a Sapore e Sapere tour.

The first, in Tuscany, allows you to bring your own bottle, or purchase one at the vending station, and purchase however much fresh milk you want from a spigot. Good Lord. Not only is it pure, but if you only want enough for your coffee that morning, that’s OK. The farmers fill it up each morning and evening. If it runs out, there’s a number to call – it’s the farmer, who will drive down and refill it if he has any left.

In Varese, you can buy the unpasteurized local milk at the grocery store. I don’t drink any other kind when I’m there and I’m still not suffering from kryptonite poisoning, imagine that! On my last visit I discovered the milk vending machine, in front of the organic meat butcher in Varese Ligure. It’s not quite as exciting as the Tuscan spigot because you have to buy a whole 1/2 litre bottle, but it’s still pretty cool. Store closed? No problem. Pop in your coins and out pops a bottle of fresh, pure milk, just like a can of Coke, except so much more worth drinking.

Varese Ligure’s midnight milk vendor. You can buy the pasteurized version here too (as well as the ‘crudo’), but why would you? We were like little kids with a bubble gum machine using this thing. Ridiculously delighted.

Heavens, how did this pic get into the milk post? Another form of bliss: the locally brewed grappa, nicely packaged for export. That’s another thing we’d never be able to do in Canada.