Monday, February 18, 2008

Want to visit an Italian supermarket?

Visiting an Italian supermarket is something that not many of us do, even those who are in fact in Italy for business or pleasure. Your priorities will not be a trip down the aisle(s).

Actually, though, it is quite interesting. With all the hoopla about the Italian lifestyle and the selling of the idea of them going to their local market and small shops every day to pick the best for the carefully crafted day's meals... Ahem. Like so many things you have been told in life, dear reader, this is not true. Or not the whole story.

What with the evil February weather and the inflated euro, I would not advise you to depart for the Bel Paese for this purpose alone. Much better to do it virtually. Visit the online supermarket (much like our Peapod) based on Despar's chain in Northern Italy. Helps to know a little Italian. Categories to click and examine for purchase are on the left.

Well, all sorts of convenience foods are present. But this being Italy, they are not quite what you would find at the local Stop and Shop. For example: frozen pasta entrees in a bag include pappardelle al ragu' di cinghiale (pappardelle with boar ragu) and tagliolini with shrimp and zucchini, under the omnipresent Findus brand. But the most amusing entry is shown in the picture: the Cameo Big Americans "Pizza American Style." Yes, guys, the Cameo brand that has been around for many decades is selling "our" frozen pizza. Coals to Newcastle. A certain smug satisfaction can be obtained that, just as we Americans often do not get Italian food right, they do the same. Their Big Americans pizza includes a topping of (egads!) corn! Mind you, Italians do not eat corn as a veggie, only as meal e.g. as in polenta. Thus, it seems very authentic to them. But I would definitely pass on any pizza featuring both corn and salami as toppings.