Fresh fresh fresh is the produce and small small small are the shops. That is the beauty of island life. Every bit of produce is up front, in your face and ready to be served. Sure, there is little supermarket, but they are pretty empty. Anyone in there are often after a quick purchase of milk or toiletries...or they are passing tourists! Down one street towards Ischia Porto there are about 4 small shops of the same 'genre.' No one seems to be in competition with each other. Everyone seems to be selling the same thing, and each one has a different character. The one similarity is the absolute marvellousness of the fruit and vegetables displayed outside that one can fondle and play with to assure of the right ripeness.
Each little shop also seems to come with a little lady looking like to be in her 70's, each of whom are willing to offer advice if needed. I silently crept up into one that looked like it was closed. For a moment I thought I had just walked into someone's house. Only the hue of natural daylight highlighted the products.
The power was out.
...but still in business, however, the lady was gabber gabber gabbering outside. I picked up a little tin of tonno (tuna) and started eyeing up the cannellini and borlotti beans. Within the blink of an eye she reappeared to my side and gave me the nod of approval that I was heading in the right direction. She pursed her mouth and signalled with her fingers that it was a very good combination.
Ah ha, I know.
....I've been making this dish for years now! I was desperate to respond, but only knowing a few words could only muster a grunt and a giggle.
Stupid English girl.
In fact, everything is so fresh that one doesn't even need to go to the shop. Upon opening the fridge, observing the strawberries, cherries and peaches and being offered an apricot, I was told that they were all from the gardens of friends.
'...many people have a little patch of land...and they grow many fruits.'
Others also have pumpkins.
By golly this makes eating fresh easy. I like fruit. I like vegetables, but when the choice has been made for you and it's on your doorstep then it's simple. No decisions. Everything will be vibrant. Everything is colourful. The lemons look like they've been injected with a growth serum.
Things are the RIGHT way around here. Fresh fruit and vegetables on display at the front. First. Foremost. Attracting salivating mouths and glittering eyes. Distracting and mesmerizing. Then as you step in you're hit with the extra virgin olive oils, pulses, pastas and tinned vegetables and tucked away in corners are the more manufactured things. They are almost...almost ordered like the Mediterranean food pyramid (if you don't know what that looks like then here it is below). It's a far cry away from being bombarded at the front with coca cola, milk chocolate digestive biscuits and cheese string deals in the UK supermarkets. Here, they want you to eat well. Italians wouldn't understand why you wouldn't?
It's sad that we've lost many many 'local' shops :( and instead we've turned into a conveyor belt franchise for money making...but who are the ones with the obesity and diabetes problem?? Thickos. A simple solution to our nations health problem. You do the maths...
|Mediterranean Food Pyramid|