Jiwon Choi is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Art History major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Jiwon gives advice on where to buy groceries to make affordable food in Florence.
Going into my third week in Florence, I've gotten used to the little roads that form a complicated maze. My old apartment full of antiques is really starting to feel like home. As I began to feel comfortable living here, I realized that it's difficult to eat out all the time.
Of course when your'e in another country you want to try their unique cuisine and dishes, and here you can have the best pasta and pizza you could ever imagine- but it comes with a price. You won’t regret spending your money, but if you want to keep your meals less expensive you have to find a different solution.
The solution we came up with was cooking our own meals. Italians are very concious about what they eat, so you will find the healthiest, richest, and freshest ingredients in Italian markets. It's very safe to buy food here.
There are two options for food shopping: the local grocery store or a traditional open market. For a grocery store, Conad is the best place to go. It's where the locals go to buy cheap groceries and has a large variety of different foods. It exists in every city in Italy like Target, and I assure you wherever you live you will have a Conad near you.
I am currently Iiving on Via del Agnolo and Conad is only 3 minute walk from my apartment. I usually go to Conad to buy my groceries, but sometimes go to the traditional market, Mercato Centrale.
This place is a traditional Italian market where you'll be able to taste and try out traditional Italian ingredients: everything like rabbit, sun dried tomatoes, calamari, prosciutto, liver, salami, basil, homemade pasta, cheese, wine, cake and more.
I brought a lot of prosciutto here and it's the best prosciutto I've ever tasted. I ordered 300g of it believing that I wouldn’t be able to finish it but ended up finishing it in 2 days. We made meal every dinner and it was great
Because my cooking skills aren't very good, here's my failed attempt to make French chicken (even though it’s cooked it tasted like it was still alive)!
The food cooked by my flatmate was a blessing from God. If you know you can’t survive cooking on you own I suggest saying in a homestay. Your host family will cook your meals and you can experience what the average Italian family eats every day.
For my daily routine, after dinner I always go out to get gelato. My goal is to try out all the flavors they have. This is the place I always go:
It's near Conad and they're very generous with amount of gelato they give out to customers. So far my favorite flavors are cheesecake and stracciatella, but there is so many flavor I haven't tried I can’t be certain!
What flavor gelato do you want to try when you come to Florence?
Jiwon's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.