Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Nothing says "Italian Cheese" like a gondola.
Just ask the folks at Boar's Head.
While browsing the cheese section at the local supermarket, my eye caught sight of a familiar shape.  It's no secret that I see gondolas in strange places at times, but in this case it was indeed a gondola on the label of one of the cheeses. 
In this case it was a mozzarella cheese, with an artistic rendering
not only of a gondola, but a few structures one might see around
the basin by St. Mark's Square.
Yes, I am well aware that mozzarella is patently Napolitano, and is believed to have been invented (by accident) in Napoli. But to the rest of the world, and especially as far away from Italy as North America,
Mozzarella is "Italian" - and nothing gets the message across that 
"this stuff is Italian" as effectively as putting a gondola on the label. 
The gondola is also on that proverbial list of "things that are Italian" for most of us way the heck over here.
For the record, I'm also aware that Boar's Head is not an Italian company - although it did start in New York City (a place known for great Italian food).
Let's take a closer look at that familiar shape:
Unlike some of the other product label gondolas I've seen, this boat appears to have the true shape and no modifications.  In fact I'm pretty sure that one or more photographs were used to produce this image. 

It seems that at some point, however, two things were done to the gondola:
First of all, the forcola was either eliminated, or perhaps obscured by the gondolier.
Secondly, it looks like the image is based on a photo that was flipped in reverse - otherwise the oar would be more prominent as it tapered back from the hands of the gondolier. 
The pontapied (that wedge for the back foot) is also more visible than I'd expect it to be if this image weren't reversed.
Graphic artists often reverse images of boats, aircraft, and automobiles if they don't like the direction they are pointing in. 
Someone once told me that it is more pleasing to the western eye to see a vehicle traveling from left to right.  I don't know if that's true, but it seems to be the case that this image has been reversed.

I've seen reverse images of gondolas many times.
Most of the time when you flip an image of a boat, nobody notices
(unless there's a name in view), ah, but do it with an asymmetric Venetian boat, and some of us will catch it.

I didn't buy this particular product, but having enjoyed many other Boar's Head products, I wouldn't hesitate to if I needed mozzarella.  Most of the time my family buys cheese, and other pizza-making supplies in bulk
(we really love pizza).

Apparently we're not the only pizza loving family.
I read somewhere recently that mozzarella is the most popular cheese in the US, and I'd imagine that most of that involves pizza.

I'm ending this post with my favorite cheese quote:
"I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind."
-Ed Rooney, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" 1986

No, it has little or nothing to do with Boar's Head mozzarella cheese with a gondola on the label.  I just love the quote.

This isn't the first time we've examined a product label here on the Gondola Blog - here are a couple more:
"I See Gondolas - Ragú"
"Venezia on the Label - Biscotti".

And now a quote of my own:
"Everything is better with cheese".
-Greg Mohr ( a guy who really loves cheese).

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