Some time ago, a friend took me to lunch. “You must try this place – it makes the most fabulous pizzas”. She pronounced the name “kohl KAT/chee/oh’ which didn’t mean much to me, and off we went. While I was scrutinizing the menu, I looked at the name more carefully, and thought ‘oh wait, if “Col Cacchio” is Italian, you don’t say ‘kohl/KAT/chee/oh’, you say “kohl KAHK/kyoh”. Although it rang a faint bell, I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. I was sure that if it was Italian, and not just a typo, as happens so often in South African restaurants, it most definitely wasn’t polite.
Of course, the next time I saw Italian friends I checked with them. They knew Col’cacchio from the days when this upmarket chain of pizzerias was still local to Cape Town, and told me that, yes indeed you say ‘kohl KAHK/kyoh’, and, as I suspected, it’s not something you would say in front of your Italian Mamma. ‘Col’ is dialect for ‘con il’ which means ‘with the’, and ‘cacchio’, yes, well. It’s a fairly common-place term of abuse – the best translation is ‘up yours’, but I suspect the owners, who must have an excellent sense of humour, would not call a restaurant ‘Col’cacchio’ in Italy. The joke is pretty much on us in South Africa. Most of us do not know how to pronounce Col’cacchio, or what it means, but if you know how to say ‘Col’cacchio’ correctly, it doesn’t sound polite…..something verrrrry familiar to South Africans about that second syllable (which is not the correct translation, by the way). You can listen to an audio file here.
Whatever the name, they do make the most delicious pizzas, and I frequent them regularly. If they ever take the Brie, peppadew and spring onion pizza off the menu, I will have to protest – most likely by shouting ‘Col’cacchio’ at management.
What is the plural of ‘pizza’ in Italian?
Pizze! For details on pronunciation see the entry for pizza.