Supermarket analysis

Every one or two days, on the way back from class I hit up the Monteverde open air market for fresh items like fruits and vegetables (and mozzarella di bufala, if they haven’t sold out already). Then I head over to the strange little grocery stores by the bus stop that specialize in things like meat, bread or other day-to-day items. (There’s even one that only sells frozen foods. I haven’t been brave enough to go in yet.) 

Once a week, however, I hop off the bus a few stops early at a big Supermercato Simply. Not only does it scratch that itch for a little bit of American convenience, but it offers products like knock-off Nutella, Corn Flakes, reduced fat milk and even plastic bags.

What I bought today with 20 euro—Corn Flakes, weird spongy bread that has fake crust, salami, cookies, GREEN bananas, tomato, zucchini, garlic (you can’t buy less than three heads anywhere), mozzarella di bufala, chocolate hazelnut spread, spaghetti and milk.

Despite stereotypes, packaged foods do not seem to be the enemy among Italians. Items like packaged cookies and pastries are everywhere, and packaged meats and cheeses are also very common. Supermarkets like Simply seem to draw a younger crowd than the Monteverde market, and everyone in line tends to have items like chips, frozen pastas and packaged bread.

Despite the freezers and packaging, Simply’s produce section stays true to the slow food movement in Italy. When you buy fruits and veggies in Rome, the emphasis is on freshness and taste, not appearance. Much of the produce isn’t pretty and you have to buy just a little each day so that it doesn’t go bad, but it’s the best you’ll ever eat.

Now, off to use as much garlic as possible.

12 October 2010 · Comments

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