Proud to be an Italian vegetable! Perusing an Italian supermarket in December


I was in Italy in December – the 6th I think it was. I went to a regular supermarket, I love to do that, because it gives me insights into how “regular” people eat, and this was a regular supermarket, in a small town, full of people, who earn normal wages. Italian wages on average are not very high. On average a person might earn 1500 Euros a month (around 1600 Dollars a month), however for people with low qualifications, workers in restaurants, till managers etc. the salary is much lower. However, if you look at the bounty of vegetables they have on offer, and therefore, if they are on offer you know that there is a demand for them, you can see that this is a people, who eats well. Yes I know we knew that, but when you look at these vegetables, you understand why one would want to eat them. Freshly harvested, proud, delicious inviting yummy veggies! Made me want to drive down to Italy each weekend to buy myself a care package (no I didn’t do it, I know it wouldn’t be eco-conscious). Anyhow, isn’t it funny that we now celebrate farm to table etc etc. something that used to be the norm is being advertised as a revelation. Visiting Italy I can tell that there people apparently never stopped eating that way.


And of course apart from veggies all the other things you discover in a supermarket tell you about shopping and eating habits. For example:

quail eggsQuail eggs – you would only find these in very expensive shops in Switzerland and you would pay around 10 dollars for 6…

Chestnut pureeChestnut puree – to get this I need to cross the border and go to France, or else find it in a very expensive Swiss shop catering to those with a high income

Cannoli rollsCannoli shell – never seen these on sale anywhere in the German speaking part of Switzerland, I have moulds, I could make my own, but buy them ready to fill, sadly no.

IMG_0263Anchovy “sauce” – which is the modern day equivalent of the Roman “liquamen” – which they used to flavour their foods ( I have two interesting cookbooks on Roman cooking.. there is a recipe in one of them on how to make your own fermented anchovy liquamen – to date I have not been tempted)


Polenta grain from different types of grain – pretty and healthy..


cheeses - so many

Bread – hygienically presented – hands-off – I approve:

hygienic supermarket bread dispenser IMG_0258

and of course sweets:



22 thoughts on “Proud to be an Italian vegetable! Perusing an Italian supermarket in December

    • I know – they are aren’t they. Italy is only 4 hours from me but for some reason the vegetables here are sad, battered and beaten poor cousins of their Italian counterparts – I am not even sure they deserve to be called the same thing. I have started to buy organic only because the vegetables are generally also much fresher…and don’t die within the first 2 days of fridge life at home…

  1. I love visiting food stores and markets in different places, forget the tourist sights, just take me to a supermarket!
    The produce is all gorgeous, and like you say, all this healthy eating, ‘root to tip’ eating, that’s being hailed as ‘new’ is only what many people have been doing forever!!!

  2. When we go to Italy by car, I always return with a huge supply of groceries that are not available or too expensive back home. I am not terribly impressed usually with the vegetables at supermarkets though — the tomatoes often come from Dutch greenhouses, the same as I get back home. They look great, but don’t have as much flavor.

    • agreed nothing like an open air market – freshest products imaginable – the supermarket selection amazed me because it was so much better that our local supermarkets! I now buy organic – tastes better lives longer and will be seeking out local farms to buy from too!

  3. I love your revelation! I remember well when the whole “farm to table” trend began. All it means is that you pay more at restaurants that advertise it! Great post!

    • Hi Chef Mimi 🙂 – I agree with you. Funny how the obvious sometimes hits you….have a lovely weekend – I must pop over to visit virtually some time, work has calmed down a bit so I have time to blog a bit more 🙂

    • agree – not being in a hotel really helps when you want to use the local bounty. when I visited Grenada we got soursop (fruit) from the local market, brought it back to the hotel, and the nice bar-people turned it into a cocktail – with rum and milk I think – sounds odd but was very tasty…..however, if you want to make salads or use other local produce you really need to stay in a rented apartment..

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