With this blog post I'm now half way through my NaBloPoMo mission of writing one post a day during the month of November, and as difficult as it may be to believe, I'm starting to run out of ideas. I don't have all that much time to write or research blog posts during the week either. Tonight's idea came to me on the way home from a supermarket run, a random list of things you'll see in Italian supermarkets which are different to British supermarkets; and I hope it can come in handy to people moving to Italy or those who have very recently moved here.
1. Not so uncommon maybe, but all loose fruit and veg needs to be weighed and labeled. Look out for the number for each item, which can be denoted by the word tasto or button, referring to the button on the scales to be pressed for that particular item. And don't forget to wear one of the plastic gloves!
2. Skimmed milk, or latte scremato, is much uncommon here than in the UK, both fresh and UHT. Full milk, latte intero is the milk for most Italians, but there's also a lot of latte parzialmente scremato on sale.
3. And milk in supermarkets is sold in 1 litre or 500 litre bottles/cartons.
4. Don't buy anything labeled cavallo if you're fond of horses, yup, it's horse meat!
5. You'll also see that vitello, veal, is popular. Turkey, tacchino, is definitely not.
6. There's a very limited choice of cereal, so it might be wise to get into the habit of eating biscuits for breakfast - you're spoilt for choice!
7. Watch out for tea labeled deteinato and decaffinato coffee if you want something that will wake you up in the morning - they're decaffinated.
8. There's a lot less 'ethnic' food. Most supermarkets just have a very limited selection of Indian/Chinese/Japanese food and cost a lot more.
9. You really won't find much in the way of teabags in the sense of teabags us Brits are used to, but there's plenty of variety when it comes to flavoured tea. Iced tea, most commonly lemon or peach flavoured, is popular, especially during the summer months.
10. For those of you in Milan, buying alcohol if you're under 16 has been illegal for a couple of years. So if you look particularly young (seriously, it happened to me last year when I was twenty four) you may be asked for a documento, a form of ID.