When one moves to Italy you expect certain things to be better. Pizza, olive oil, wine, grapes, cheese, gnocchi...I mean, they *should* be better here. Hello, it's ITALY. We have been amazed by the deliciousness of all of the above. But then there are the things that you would never expect to even be different, let alone better.
Case in point: Yogurt. Let me introduce you to a new found love called Froop...
Now you may notice it's not Italian...it's actually German. The other brand that I don't have a photo of is also from Deutschland (and while good, it's not near as amazing). The layer at the top is fruit and then you have the yogurt...but this yogurt is not like Yoplait. It's so thick it's practically a custard and when you mix it with the fruit layer it's melt-in-your mouth delicious. Oh, and the fruit layer isn't chunky either, it's whipped and fluffy. The container is also bigger than what the yoplait/dannon ones are...it's amazing. And just in case you thought it was just me, the kids like it better and even B loves it, which he hated yogurt in the states. We stir it all up and the boys will each eat an entire container. In fact they had one after dinner the other night and declared it their dessert! Froop also has more choices for fruit flavors. (I've never like coffee flavored yogurts or the pies/cake ones..blech!) Pictured is strawberry (which is my favorite) but the boys love the cherry and the mixed berry, B loves the mango. They have even more, apricot, lemon, etc and for $.65 a serving, they're not a bad price either.
Food item number 2 is: Pepsi (or Coke or Fanta...soda in general)
I will fully admit that I love soda. And I knew moving to Italy that soda isn't near as popular as it is in the states especially while dining out. Wine is cheap...at our local place, I can get a 1/4L of wine for 1.8 euro...about $2.40. A glass of soda however is 2 euro for a small or 4 euro for a ''large'' and you get no ice. (The "large" is maybe 12oz). That's about $5.32 for essentially a can of pop. And it's not a fountain drink either...it's a 1L bottle that they open and pour into a cup. Ridiculous. Needless to say I've been drinking a lot more wine and a lot less soda.
But if you go to the Italian grocery store, it's priced much more reasonable. (obviously it's cheapest if you're shopping at the commissary but I mean when shopping on the economy. At the commissary it's just regular American soda). I bought a 1/4L of Pepsi for .87 euro (a little over $1) at Emisfero, which is best described as an Italian version of Wal-Mart. A can of Pepsi is cheaper at .44 euro. And the neat part is when you buy it in cans, it's individual cans, not a case (you rarely find anything in bulk off post because most Italians walk, bike or have tiny cars so smaller is better) and each can has a special foil lid.
It's a sanitary thing, to keep the lids clean. It simply peels back; there is no seal or glue. It's just a little Pepsi hat. And it just keeps getting better. Once you open that Pepsi and take your first sip you'll notice something different. The Pepsi is better! A quick look at the ingredients and you'll see why: soda here is made with zucchero, sugar. Not high fructose corn syrup but sugar and man-oh-man can you tell. It's so much better tasting! And I think all sodas (that you can buy on the economy...not at the comissary) are made with sugar instead of HFCS. I haven't been here very long, nor have I drank that much but from what I can tell, it sure seems that way. And fruity drinks like Fanta...I couldn't even stomach them before but here, Fanta actually tastes like oranges. It's not so fizzy and it's more fruity (plus Italians love some Fanta, it's everywhere).
And lastly *for now* the number 3 thing that is 'more awesome' in Italy:
McDonalds. It could be the weeks we've gone without it but we caved and went to the mall this weekend. The food was ah-mazing. We went because we were curious about what an Italian mall would offer but secondly the dang McDonald's logo is on bus stops, the sides of buses, etc all pointing you to the mall where one is located. The kids noticed one in Venice and I downright refused to eat there but since we were going to the mall anyway, we told them we'd have lunch there. The menu is similar (the kids all had chicken nugget happy meals with fries, fanta and a toy) but slightly different (the happy meals also include a drinkable yogurt). I had a sandwich called a ''Crispy McBacon'' which was similar to a double cheeseburger but the cheese was a sauce and it had bacon...no ketchup, mustard, pickle, dehydrated onions. The fries were AWESOME. I don't know if it's a difference in oil or what but we chowed down on them. Oh and ketchup? Forget about it, you have to pay per packet here! I'm not sure how much as I couldn't understand the guy but I did understand that it cost money!