Challenge reveals huge appetite for name-dropping

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 May, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 May, 1994, 12:00am

ITALIAN food appears to be highly popular, judging by the response we got by phone and fax for our poser as to exactly how the Ritz Carlton's Italian restaurant - currently basking as Toscano - should spell its name.

The offer of a free dinner at the place for the most erudite explanation obviously got the brain cells (and digestive juices) running.

The thought of complimentary pasta inspired Claudio Dehhe said.

Andrew Vrech got straight to the point: ''The region Tuscany is called Toscana, a man who comes from Tuscany is a Toscano, a woman who comes from Tuscany is a Toscana and many people who come from Tuscany are Toscani.'' From Rome (yes, the Eternal City no less) Alessandro Mesirca faxed us invoking the word's Latin origins.

A reader rang in with a weighty disposition on the subject that used up 15 minutes of the tape on our answerphone.

All the correspondence has now been turned over to the Ritz Carlton's GM, Mike Matthews, to sort out.

But the final word must go to the banker who lived in Italy for many years.

After giving us his own explanation he added: ''But then I had lunch at this particular restaurant the other day and the menu was full of spelling mistakes. I pointed this out to the pretty waitress who told me that the only person who spoke Italian in the place was the chef and that spelling was not his strong point.'' Ciao.