Around the World in Grocery Stores

I was in the grocery store picking up an ingredient for dinner, when I started thinking about all the different grocery stores I had been to. I have traveled around the world in grocery stores.  Throughout my travels, grocery stores have always been a place where I have scavenged shelves looking for food with English ingredients. They have been places where I have learned about the city or country I was visiting, just by perusing the scene and food-stocked shelves. The mice I saw scurrying around the grocery store in Paris, or the non-refrigerated eggs sitting on a shelf on one of the regular food aisles in Australia, display aspects that a regular traveler may not ever notice.  A grocery store is not a typical tourist excursion, but for those like me who need to find allergy-friendly foods, they are a must-see destination.

Coles was my grocery store of choice when I lived in Australia. I would buy all of my food there. Everything food related in Australia encompassed only a few different areas for me. I could eat fresh foods, like fruits, veggies, deli meat, other meats, some cheeses, yogurt, and eggs. The only other foods I could eat were Carr’s crackers (which are imported from the U.K.) and some pastas. The only chocolate I could eat there were Twix bars (although I can’t eat them in the U.S., but I could eat them in Oz because they were manufactured somewhere else). It was a pretty limiting (and expensive) diet! I went to the grocery store every other day to buy fresh foods. Everything spoiled there quickly!
When I move to Italy at the end of August, I am curious to know what kind of grocery shopping experience I will have.  Will I find any packages with English ingredients?  How many hours will I spend trying to translate words and decipher any warnings on food packages?  There are so many questions about how it will be to move to a country where I barely speak the language and don’t know anyone, but I am not worried!  I have traveled to many countries where I don’t speak the language.  I have lived abroad before and figured it out.  Finding food is always a challenge, but I am sure that the many hours I will spend in my new Italian grocery store will only help me to understand the new place I will be calling home.

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One Comment

  1. Ciao!! It’s Stephanie again! Hope you are safe and sound in Italy and enjoying yourself!! I’m jealous! I contacted you in April with a comment about your travel to Italy. We are definitely going in July 2010. If you remember, my son, is severely allergic to tree nuts and I noted some strategies I had including packing a box of safe foods to be sent over prior to our arrival. So how was the preparation, the flight in the plane? I am SO curious about how you found the Italian grocery shopping for allergy friendly foods. I need some suggestions and recommendations? Please email me directly at
    Thanks for your posts!
    ~Stephanie Mitchell

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