Monday, November 7, 2011

Il supermercato

I know this's going to sound strange, but one of the things I look forward to the most when going to a country other than Italy or the UK is going to the supermarket. I love seeing all the different kinds of food which aren't on sale here or in the old country, and trying things I haven't eaten before. One of the best things I've seen on my travels was in Vienna when I was there at the end of March last year - normal chicken eggs which had been painted in different colours for Easter, I thought it was such a lovely idea!

As supermarkets go, Italian ones are very different from British ones. In my hometown there's this massive Tesco that sells everything. None of that here, well, not in a supermercato anyway. The nearest thing would be a ipermercato, a superstore. And even then they don't have as much clothes as a lot of British supermarkets do. I remember the first time I went to a ipermercato in Italy, in Pesaro during my year in Urbino; I was overjoyed not only to find products for sensitive skin which were impossible to find in the small town where I was studying, but also foundation which was light enough for my skin! But as for supermarkets, here there are much less non-food goods.

I think you can learn a bit about the culture of the country you're visiting when you go to the supermarket too, epecially in Italy where the food culture is so important. You can learn so much about the eating habits of the population. Instead of the cereal aisle you have in the UK, there's a biscuit aisle. There's more bread and pasta. It's no surprise that Italy's a much healthier nation when you look at the shops where they buy their food. There's more fresh produce, fewer ready meals and pre-prepared food, and fewer snacks and fatty food aimed at children. Generally speaking there's less frozen produce too, even though gelato obviously takes up a large section of this!

This was my food shop from earlier today. Those red things at the top that look like overgrown tomatoes? I'll be blogging about them tomorrow!

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