I love the sidewalk fruit and vegetable carts so prevalent in Italy and it doesn’t matter if I am in a small village or in a bigger town. Everything is fresh and the people are so happy to sell their produce.
Fruits and Vegetables for sale in Lecce, Italy
Roadside fruit and vegetable stand in Catania, Italy
Fruits and vegetables for sale in Verona, Italy
Fruit and vegetable market in San Remo
Fresh lemons on the Amalfi Coast
Fresh basil and parsley in San Remo outside the kitchen window
About Margie Miklas
An award-winning author, Margie Miklas writes medical thrillers and travel memoirs about Italy, a place which has captured her passion for travel. She is also the creator and owner of the travel blog, Margie in Italy, and a contributing writer for an Italian-American newspaper. A retired critical-care nurse, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her three cats. Her favorite place is the beach, and she likes learning new computer skills, when she is not writing. A member of the Florida Writers Association, Margie makes her home in Florida.
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I have been asked several times, “..Why is it that food tastes so much better in Italy than it does here in the US?”. The reason is simple: Italy is a small country (no larger that the state of Arkansas). The soil is replete with minerals and vulcanic soil, kissed by the Meditteranean sun, cuddled by the veiny riverbeds, protected by the mountanous regions, and surrounded by ancient seas. Each region grown its fruits and vegetables most compatible with its climate. The travel distance is short (compared to US terms) from cultivator to table, allowing the earth’s abundance to be picked when it is ripe and bursting with flavor and armed with enzymes, minerals and other life giving forces. Italians pride themselves in their kitchen, where only the best quality products are used to prepare the local recipes. All part of the slow food, “dolce vita” way of life which is to be savored and revered each day.
Unfortunately, global economics have forever changed the landscape of Italian life: people are more stressed, have less time on their hands, competition from overseas, produce cheaper, but diminished quality products and life as we native Italians once knew it, has been severely compromised. Mega supermarkets have replaced the individual specialty stores, vegetables infused with growth enhanced chemical show up, pre-packaged on store shelves (horror of horrors). Che pena..what pity!
What a pity that the vegetable man is no longer part of the daily parade. Ours had a flat bed truck with short sides so that you could see over into the bed and all the aromatic herbs and vegetables. I remember the colors as so vibrant, you knew they had been harvested just hours before or maybe less. Our man on the street also carried eggs with him so he was very popular, On Monday the ladies had a fresh supply of money and no change. He would take the $5 and sometime later he would be back with change. Usually in nickels and dimes!
Living in Miami, even when the vegetable man was gone, we had many vegetable markets and farmers markets. We could walk around town eating from one fruit tree after another, We had no idea how we were blessed. My Great Grandmother never had a noodle maker but we rolled out the dough and cut out whatever shape we needed or kneaded what we needed? At any rate, those days seem to be gone around here. Hope Italy can hang onto the old ways for a little longer.
I think I will roll out some noodles tomorrow. A little tomato and basil, some onion, hmmm, wonder where I got that idea from! Bonnie D.
I was in Rome a few years ago and came across a fruit, it was yellow without a pit (from what i remember) and very sweet. What fruits like this are from Italy?
My first thought is that of a persimmon, however, its thin skin is more of an orangish color.
The inside is all pulp, and when ripe they are extremely sweet. Conversely, if not picked from the tree at the right time, the flavor is asper and one actually has a feeling of one’s toungue being tied. In Italy they are called cachi (1 is a caco). My grandmother had the biggest caco tree and its fruits were sweet as honey and large as grapefruit. However, they mature in late fall in northern Italy. Don’t know about southern Italy. I have never, ever tasted a decent persimmon /caco here in the States.
Thank you Lori for the great explanation…I did have my first cacao in Sicily and didn’t know what it was but it was delicious!
I think Lori here has answered your question very well and she knows, having come from Italy.