Where do Italian people do their food shopping? The supermarket, the Internet, local markets? 

If you plan your shopping list carefully, you will be able to buy the right products to cook healthy and balanced meals even when you are short of time or when you face family or work emergencies.  

market italy

Shopping time

Italians usually go to the supermarket once or twice a week; moreover, we hardly ever buy food on the Internet because of the lack of connectivity, especially in small villages. Instead, we often get fresh food from local producers. In my small town, a wide range of choices is provided at the three weekly markets. The busiest market on Friday morning is a kind of social event where people can buy all kinds of products (meat, fresh fish, fruit, vegetables, clothes, household items) or meet for a coffee. On Tuesday morning, a smaller neighborhood market is held in a nice square where you can buy high-quality fruit and vegetables. Then on Wednesday afternoon, a small farmer’s market is in the main square where local seasonal products can be bought. The price is usually a little higher, but the quality is guaranteed.

Unfortunately, I can’t often go to these local markets due to my work schedule, but I usually go to a small local market on Saturday mornings in a village nearby. I fully enjoy the local seasonal products’ scents, so I spend a lot of time choosing them: I touch and look at them carefully, or I ask the vendor for advice. 

You may really feel a sense of community because people give you advice. They might say: “This is how I cook it…,” or “You should buy that because …you will be surprised. It is so tasty.”

Thus, I may learn new recipes, meet new people, and buy plenty of good healthy products. 

But let’s go back to the supermarket. Have you ever gotten lost in a supermarket? Have you ever been to a supermarket with your shopping list and then bought so many things, not on the list? Here, nobody gives you any advice, so you must know exactly what you want to buy. A supermarket is devoid of the personality of a local market.


All the things Italian people have on their shopping list 

  • Fresh and dry pasta, rice;
  • Pulses (beans, peas, and lentils);
  • Walnuts;
  • Extra virgin olive oil and vinegar; 
  • Olives and capers to enhance the taste of the dishes;  
  • White meat, fish, and some cured meat for Sunday lunch; 
  • Mozzarella or fresh cheese, Parmesan;
  • Celery, carrots, onions, garlic to make simple sauteéd vegetables;
  • Seasonal fruit and vegetables;
  • Bread and flour to make pizza; 
  • Basil, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, sage, and thyme; 
  • Salt, pepper, lemon.

bologna salumeria

How can you season your dishes?

  • Italian people do not use heavy sauces or a lot of spices. We mainly season our dishes with extra virgin olive oil (the only kind we use). In northern Italy, we also use a little butter. For example, pasta with butter and sage is so delicious and tempting!
  • We also like vinegar, especially balsamic (I’ll deal with it later on), and lemon. 
  • We hardly ever buy cream, and if we need mayo, we ask our grandmas for it. Usually, grandmas are better at making it as they are more experienced! 

Don’t forget to do a shopping list or use a favorite Food Shopping App.

I definitely do; otherwise, I get lost among all the dazzling possibilities, and I forgot to buy what I really need. Many people now depend on phone apps rather than on paper lists because the apps will do the organizing, will present nutritional values, and are right there on their phones, easy to use. Some of the most popular Grocery Shopping apps are AnyList, OurGroceries, List Ease, Cozi Family Organizer, Mealime.


What do Italians actually think about while food shopping? 

  • Eating more veggies and getting more fiber in the diet,
  • Being careful with fruit, especially the ones which contain a lot of sugar,
  • Cutting down on fat, especially saturated, which is really harmful to our cardio health, 
  • Drinking more and more water and cutting out alcohol and sugary drinks,
  • Having a varied diet rich in vitamins,
  • And in general, staying away from sugar!

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