Groceries in Italy: Peanut Butter is “international” and Tomatoes rule…

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Peanut butter, baked beans, and other international food in Italy.

Coop is the grocery store where the locals go. It has better prices and is bigger, busier, and less friendly than Pam. It also tends to have better fresh food (meats, veggies) and is a bit further away.

Pam is has better chocolate and is right by the train station and caters to foreigners more… so they have berries year round. The only other place you can find fresh berries in the winter in Siena are the expensive vegetable shops in the super touristy area of town. Once in a while Coop will get some rock-solid, over engineered winter strawberries but blueberries or raspberries are out despite the fact that Coop has a vegetable department at least 8 times as large as Pam.


Speaking of veggies, you have to weigh them and get a sticker in the produce aisle. There’s no scale at the register. They have about 188 SKUs broken down as follows:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 10.20.33 AM.png1-47 – Fruits

48-94 Veggies

95-141 Exotic (you know, like green beans)

142-188 Lettuce and tomatoes

That’s a lot of different types of tomatoes!

We also shop at our local veggie stand often for kale, broccoli, bananas, and apples. We asked Antonio (our veggie guy) if he ever had GREEN peppers and he said those are seasonal for the summer only, although we can get red and yellow peppers year-round.

And speaking of peanut butter, we sometimes get the wax and sugary peanut-butter crap from Coop, but mostly we get peanut butter from the asian market down the street where we also get beans, lentils, fresh cilantro, spices, curry paste, rice, tahini, etc. It does have palm oil in it so we also order some “just peanut” peanut butter from Germany and the UK through Amazon… although it’s SUPER expensive.