Saturday, March 29, 2008


We have had our sun back today, along with a temperature of 22 C outside at lunchtime and so, for the first time in weeks, I felt like sauntering down to the location of "the best butcher in town": it is not far away, but it is an uphill walk back and that is not easy when you are carrying a lot of bags in inclement weather.

Here's what I got there for 40 € :
Back row, left to right: 6 super-sized lemons, 4 arancini [rice balls - all right, pyramids, then], 2 "thingies" [about which more below].
Middle row, left to right: 1 kilo small pears, 1 kilo lamb pieces on the bone, a large pack of basil.
Front row: 6 breaded veal escalopes and a pack of datterini tomatoes.

I have made arancini but in my opinion the experts can make them better and that is generally my philosophy about ready-prepared food: make what you know will turn out well at home but buy what can be prepared better professionally. I would guess that this is the philosophy of most Italians, too. Why make a mess egging and breading escalopes yourself if a butcher will do it freshly on the premises and make a neater job of it? Now, you may be wondering about the "thingies" at the back right of the first picture and so was I ! I asked the butcher if they had a name and he said they were "sort of polpettone" [big meatballs] of pork mince encased in very thin beef fillet. When I cook one I will let you know how it tastes!

I am out of touch with UK prices by now, but wherever you are, I would be interested to know whether you think this was a "good haul" for my 40 euros!

According to survey results published today, you can forget the sushi bars that have become popular all over Italy in recent years because pasta is still the number one food preference here. The percentage of those who eat meat often has increased by almost half since 2007 but strangely the popularity of pizza is decreasing. 77.7% of Italians taking part in the survey said they still buy local specialities, choosing cheeses, salami, oil, bread and wine, in that order. Consumption of liqueurs is down [but I don't think these statistics take into account those made at home, which reminds me, it's about time I got my own little distillery going again!] Wine production is lower than in 2007 because of climactic factors. Consumption of mozzarella di bufala is up in Italy, despite recent problems. Well done, the Italians, for supporting, on the whole, their own, beloved food produced in the time-honoured way.

By the way, I am still awaiting the plumber-electrician man - pazienza!


Leslie: said...

It was in our newspaper today about the problem you're having with the mozzarella di bufala. Glad to hear sales are doing fine.

About the price of food - it seems a bit expensive to me, but what do I know? 40 Euros would = about $60.00Cdn and I think I could get a lot more for that amount of money. But I know it's worth it over there.

Glad you liked my tribute to Sicily today. :D

Crushed said...

I think on the whole, yes, it is a good buy.
It works out to about 25 quid, which can feed me for quite a while, but then, I don't really eat much. And what I do it is mainly junk- Morrisons burgers at buy one get one free, that sort of thing.

The thingies sound juicy!

Nunyaa said...

You make your own wine? The amount of foods you got for 40 €, I think is equivalent to approx $69 AUD, seems reasonable, meats are very expensive here in Australia. Minced meat used to be poor mans food, now that is over $9 per kilo. Our oranges imported from USA are cheaper than home grown ones :-)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

oh the sun!!! wish we had some..

I think your shopping was a little bit pricey...but I haven't bought lamb for a while, or veal escalopes. Will look out for them and see the price.

Can't wait to see what you do with the lamb. :-)

Trubes said...

Hi Welshcakes:
I think you got a lot for your Euros in Italy. I reckon six Breaded Veal Escalopes would cost about £18. in the UK. So if you added all the other items in your shopping basket, at an estimated guess, that little shop would cost abour £40. or more in 'Rip of Britain' !
Lovely day today here in the UK, cold, but blue skies and sunshine, Hurrah!

Di. xx

Mopsa said...

The polpettone are the problem - impossible to equate to a UK (non)equivalent. I'd say your £31.50 basket was a bit more pricey than in the UK if I'd shopped in Waitrose, and a LOT more pricey if I'd shopped at the market. Whether the local butcher would have such good quality escalopes is another matter entirely. I buy such little meat these days (rearing most of my own and selling it in bulk)that I forget how dear it is to buy a single leg of lamb, say, from a quality source.

CherryPie said...

For a change we have a bit of sun today :-)
I hope your plumber-electrician man turns up soon!

Liz Hinds said...

Local farmers' markets are becoming more and more popular and awareness increasing of the benefits of shopping locally for locally-produced goods.

I am very bad with prices as I never know how much anything costs!

Ellee Seymour said...

I can tell you that food prices are rising considerably here in the UK. A sliced loaf of white bread cost me almost £1.50 and a large fresh chicken with £1 off was £6. They used to cost about 70p and £4.50 respectively.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Leslie. I think food is generally cheaper in N America, isn't it? Loved your Sicilian post!
Ciao, Crushed, Haven't cooked the "thingies" yet!
Hi, nunyaa. Not wine, but liqueurs. Amazing about the oranges over there.
Ciao, Anne. Veal was always pricey in the UK, I remember. Just pondering what to do with the lamb!
Ciao, Trubes. I think you are right about the veal. Glad you have blue skies there today.
Hi, Mopsa. Yes, I can see that there is nothing to compare the polpettone to. In this butcher's you do pay more than at the supermarket but you pay for the quality, as you have guessed.
So do I, cherrypie! The trouble, I think, is that, as in the UK, they don't want to come out for what is, to them, a small job. Glad you have sun there!
Hi, Liz. I like the sound of farmers' marlets though have never been to one. I think I paid for the quality here.
Hi, Ellee. That seems an incredible rise to me!

jmb said...

Yep, sounds quite a bit to me too. But food is definitely cheaper here which is funny since it has to be trucked such huge distances and gasoline (petrol) is getting expensive although not as expensive as Europe.
Still it looks good.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. That is strange, as you say.

Rowena said...

For 40 euros I think you got a pretty good deal. Lamb and breaded veal don't come at bargain prices I should think. Now you've got me curious as to what 40 euros will buy for me. Come to think of it, that's what my bi-monthly budget is for wine alone!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Rowena. I didn't think it was bad, either! It would be interesting to know how it compares with prices up there, though.


View My Stats