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italy-souvenirs-midnightblueelephant-parmesan-pastaI recently read a post about how you get the best souvenirs at local grocery stores. Of course that was before I had my evernote account and therefore don’t remember the blog nor do I have the link, but the concept really stuck with me. Especially because I love grocery stores in foreign countries and could spend hours browsing, even if it is just a simple 7-Eleven in Thailand (I mean, can we talk about their awesome toasted ham and cheese sandwiches?!).

On a recent trip to my friend Claire’s wedding in Tuscany I was staying at a self-catering house with some people and we had to stock the fridge for Chianti tasting (my idea of course) and an impromptu bachelorette pizza dinner as well as breakfasts. Grocery shopping was on the to do list. And while I initially thought we would go once and be done with it, we ended up going every single day. Voluntarily. Because let me tell you – Coop Italy rocks.

First of all there is not one but two aisles dedicated to parmesan cheese. Yes, that’s right, two! There is a fridge section full of pizza dough in addition to your usual assortment of pre-made pizzas. Pasta aisle one has freshly made pastas, pasta aisle two hosts anything filled, and pasta aisle three is for dried pasta. I won’t even get started on the assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, the burrata, the buffalo mozzarella, the oils, the prosecco, and the hugest counter of parma ham I have ever seen. Let’s just say I wanted get lost there, be forgotten, and locked in for the night.

That’s when I realized that yes, supermarkets are the perfect shopping arena for souvenirs. This time I mainly did souvenir shopping for myself, but since parmesan and truffle oil are a staple in my house I was actually saving money I would have otherwise spend on not so great cheese back home. Or so I was telling myself…

Here are my spoils, I’m still a bit sad I couldn’t bring the same whole parma ham we had for the wedding.

one Request from my brother and since he always makes me awesome food and porcinis are light enough, I was happy to oblige. two I wanted to buy a bigger piece, but was worried it wouldn’t fit into my luggage, so I kept it small-ish. three My sister in law lives part time in Italy so I asked her for advise on the best dried pasta. Her answer was La Molisana, apparently the rest is rubbish. Sorry, Barilla & Co, her words not mine! four I will not even try to resist truffle oil.


  1. Pingback: THE TRAVELER STANDS STILL AND MY BEST OF 2014. | The Midnight Blue Elephant

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