Monday, April 23, 2012

The Italian Shopping Basket

Food shopping is one of my favourite pastimes. Browsing the stalls of a local artisan food market, visiting traditional alimentari (grocery stores) bursting at the seams with regional specialties, tasting what’s on offer in the makeshift store of a local producer, even scanning the shelves of the supermarket, food shopping for me is a perpetual quest for the best ingredients. Eating has to be about more than just the finished dish and food shopping is part of the experience.

For all of us, it’s a balancing act. Italy is an expensive country and the issue of cost always, unfortunately, has to be taken into consideration. Quality standards, such as the EU’s food classification scheme, help us to make informed decisions, yet often with the unwanted consequence of driving up price. But without some system of standards, the unwary shopper shops blind.

Trite though it may sound, the first rule of shopping today is ‘Always Read the Label’. Appearances can be deceptive. I’ve been stung on numerous occasions, returning home with products that frankly were not what they seemed and not what I wanted.

This new addition to my blog is a shopper’s companion. Whether you are here in Italy or abroad, whether you are shopping at the local supermarket or in an Italian specialty store, I’m going to take you through the best the country has to offer. From what to buy (what not to buy), when to buy it (when not to buy it), where to buy it (and where not) and what to do with it when you buy it, this is a no-holds, honest and candid guide for the Italian food shopper. Welcome to the Italian Shopping Basket!

To view today's shopping basket, white asparagus, click on the shopper's icon to the right.  


  1. I'm going to love following this new feature Mario. I have to admit that due to the cost of food, I am not a great fan of food shopping. Plus with my sometimes fussy eating children, I often lament what on earth am I going to buy!

  2. Cost is a problem for everyone. Italy can be an expensive country when it comes to food shopping. However, I've got ways to take the € sting out of food shopping. And as far as children are concerned, I know where you are coming from.

  3. Hi Mario, I am going to add this to my Mouth Watering Mondays post come over and check it out next Monday at Cheers, Tara