Ah, a new city, a new food shopping experience. Luckily this time we were given some pointers on where to go for shopping within walking distance of the villa. There are two options, a market which is open in the morning and a few shops that are open pretty much all day.
On Monday, Sarah and I checked out the shops. The villa had no food, except for one chocolate bar and a lemon liquor, not really an appropriate lunch after our flight from Berlin. I would like to say right now, how much I appreciate the places that we have stayed in that supplied some of the basics like olive oil, salt, pepper, tea, coffee and sugar or honey. It is almost disheartening to start having to buy all the basics when moving to a new city. We now travel with coffee, tea, and some spices such as oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I suspect that an empty kitchen is fine for people who are only going to one city and then back home; but for those of us making several moves it is disheartening.
The shops were small but plentiful. There were at least three fruit and vegetable stores that all had wonderful produce. Bakeries, delis, and even a butcher were all close by along with a plethora of places from which to buy pizza. Most of the people only spoke Italian but a few spoke limited English. As always, people were very kind and Sarah and I were able to buy enough food for lunch and supper. I had some fun trying to ask for Balsamic vinegar. I now know that it is aceto, not vinegar. But my description of “wine that has gone bad” seemed to do the trick, but only after trying to sell me lots of wine and beer first.
Buying sausages was fun as well. I wanted to buy six sausages. Holding up six fingers and pointing to the sausages looked like it was working, until the man stopped at four. I practically had to beg for first one and then two more. I realized after that he took my fingers as 100’s of grams and not pieces of meat. I walked away happy with six sausages for 5 euros. I think it was a good deal. They tasted really good broken into pieces and fried with broad beans and noodles.
Yesterday, Robin and I tried out the market. It was wonderful. As Robin described it, the market was a long strip of stalls, not unlike our farmers market, but much larger. There were plenty of fruit and vegetable stalls, all nice and fresh, as it is still growing season here. There were butchers; fish mongers with shrimp larger and more obviously alive than I have ever seen before; flower sellers; nut sellers; a man that made his own olive oil where people brought their own empty bottles (including pop bottles) to fill up – I think he also has some fermented items on sale as well; and many other vendors.
Robin and I picked out lots of great produce, fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli, basmati rice, wonderful cookies, and fresh mozzarella all of which were priced and requested by the kilo. I seem to have the knack of asking for one kilo, “un chilo” but failed miserably asking for a half a kilo. A half a kilo, I now know is “una meta chilo”, not a “demi kilo” as I requested. On the upside, I made the mistake of trying out my French instead of learning Italian when ordering the cookies. We now have a lot of cookies. Around 8 euros worth of cookies… It’s a good thing they are really tasty; or perhaps that is a bad thing! It will depend upon how quickly they disappear.
The final purchase of the day was pizza and rolls from one of the pizza places along the shops. I had no idea how the pizza was ordered. I saw lots of different types of pizzas on a sign with prices in the 12 – 16 euro range. What I saw in the case were a number of long pieces of pizza that the server cut into strips to serve people. I found two partial strips, one with veggies and one with meat and asked for both. The server cut each in two, weighed them on a scale and stuck them in a box. Apparently the pizza is also paid for by the kilo. The four pieces, enough four our supper, cost just over 6 euros. I think I am in pizza heaven. The veggie pizza was just sauce, cherry tomatoes, lots of oregano, and slices of fresh mozzarella but taste was absolutely amazing.