Grocery Shopping in Italy
Grocery shopping in Italy is an event all its own. You must bring your own bag to put your groceries in or you get charged about $.12€ for each bag. That can add up. In some stores, they even charge you to use a metal cart. They always have a plastic bin that has a handle and wheels free of charge. We use that.
Of course, we laugh when we see a familiar item for example, in the refrigerator section – Philadelphia Cream Cheese! You just don’t expect it among the mascarpone cheese!
The other thing that I had read about when you shop not in a grocery store but at a fruit stand on the side of the street. Don’t even think of picking up the peach you want! You point to the stand owner and tell them how many you want. They don’t want you squeezing their fruits and vegetables.
Well, it is pretty similar to a point in the grocery store. You can touch the fruit and vegetables but you must wear a plastic glove. You get a clear bag, put your item in the bag (using your glove!!) and take it to the weigh station.
At this station, you put your item in the tray, find the proper number that was indicated on the display when you choose it, then a tape will be printed with the item’s name, the weight, per kilo price and the total amount. You stick it on the bag and continue shopping. Pretty simple once you know what you are doing. The first time my knees were knocking!
It is fun to try new things and experiment. We thought we were buying plastic wrap one day and came home with parchment baking paper instead. Okay, we’ll find a use for it without an oven in the apartment!
The last thing that is pretty odd is the checkout people sit; they don’t stand. They take their time and get you through the line. There isn’t a whole lot of space to pack you bag so you usually have the bag on the floor while you pack it. You think they could rework the space somehow, oh well.
The food is amazing even at the grocery stores. Fresh homemade ricotta, Prosciutto di Parma cut fresh, the fresh pasta’s waiting to be chosen and brought home. Aye! Wonder why I can’t loose any weight here.