‘Ciao, Polentona!’

polenta baked with porcini mushrooms

polenta baked with porcini mushrooms

Polentona is an Italian slang word for a woman from the North, polenta being a popular and widely-consumed staple food of regions such as Val d’Aosta, Lombardy, and Piedmont. In the final scene of Benvenuti al Sud (the Italian remake of Dany Boon’s comedy Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis), in which a southern couple and a northern couple exchange farewells, a southern woman teasingly calls her northern counterpart polentona (1:05). Of course, food-related nicknames and epithets of the sort abound in Italy, pejorative or harmless as dictated by context and intent. In this scene, polentona is clearly a term of endearment, a playful underscoring of the culture gap that divides the two women despite their common nationality.