Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part V: the Drive Back

Catch up on the previous episodes here:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Early on the morning of our departure from Naples, Rachel took a taxi to the airport and flew to Sicily to continue her adventures there. We started a long drive back from Naples to Regensburg, stopping overnight twice along the way. Continue reading Italy Road Trip May 2016, Part V: the Drive Back

Italian Grocery Roadtrip Price Comparison

Superfino Carnaroli Risotto RiceWe did a road trip down to Northern Italy in December 2012 primarily to visit the grocery store(s) there. We ate like royalty in a fantastic agriturismo and spent the day with the best weather of the weekend exploring cute towns in the area…but to be honest, those are just perks. The whole point was to stock up on wine from Castello di Roncade and supplies — hopefully cheaper or of better quality or variety — for the coming year. Along the way down, as we approached our destination, we made note of signs for hypermarkets and followed up on them using the WiFi in our room. We settled on the Iper in Castelfranco as the closest in the area.

Hmm. How’d we do?

Item Castelfranco Regensburg
Risotto rice (kg):
Arborio
Carnaroli
€1,25
€1,35
€1,59
€3,19
€7,58
flour for pasta-making (kg):
Tipo 00
Semolina
€0,59
€1,70
€2,99
dried pasta (500g):
Tubetti
Ditali
Ditalini
€0,39
€0,55
€0,84
€1,14
€1,39
Olive oil (L):
Various medium-grade local and house brands €3,45
€3,49
€3,99
€4,83 (in a 3-l jug)
€3,59
€3,72
Cheeses (kg):
Asiago
Grana Padano (10 months)
Bella Lodi
Parmigiano-Reggiano
€9,99-11,99 €19,00
€19,90
€22,50

Okay, so we can see that olive oil was not such a big win, price-wise. But we loved perusing the selection and choosing between cold-pressed cloudy unfiltered and extra frooty fancy foil-wrapped varieties. And the freshly-baked wood-fired oven pizzas and arancini at the in-house rosticceria and pizzeria were motivation enough to stop in, even without the bulk staple purchases. Can’t wait to see how those stack up against supplì later this week.

Quick jaunt down to Italy

I got a chance at a couple days off, allowing me to use up all my vacation days for 2012 (not as easy it sounds!), so we jumped on it, intending to import our favorite groceries:

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Sarah reserved us a car and place to sleep at an agriturismo bed-and-breakfast in Veneto and we drove through breathtaking combinations of sky, snow, and scenery in Austria. When we crossed the border into Italy, everything turned gray and slushy. We trudged on through slippery, rainy valleys until we arrived in Piomobino Dese.

Continue reading Quick jaunt down to Italy

Donaumarkt, Regensburg’s farmers’ market

One of my weekly joys is a Saturday morning stroll along our island and over a bridge to the south bank of the Danube to scout for groceries. There are lots of local producers represented there: family-run dairies, butchers, bakers, and vegetable farmers, along with a few beekeepers and herbmongers. Some of them are pure-organic producers, too. It took us a couple years of living in Regensburg’s Altstadt before we stumbled upon it. I don’t think that’s because it’s any sort of a well-kept secret (indeed, there are murmurs of uprooting this market and moving it elsewhere in town), but rather because there’s not trace of it come Saturday afternoon.

To help you warm up, or wake up (whatever the case may be), Moccafee has a tiny mobile outdoor coffee shop set up.

And if you’re very good at the butcher stand, you might even get a little reward for your behavior.

For now, at least, you can find it (nearly?) every Saturday morning on the south bank of the Danube just east of the Eiserne Brücke. The rest of the week, it’s plain old parking lot on Hunnenplatz. Get there early for the widest selection and best ease of browsing. It gets crowded pretty quickly after 9:30 and could well be deserted by noon.

View Donaumarkt in a larger map

No more Netto in Stadtamhof — at least not until 2011

I got this information from TV Aktuell, the local TV station.

Our neighborhood grocery store closed last Monday, leaving our island in the Danube even more isolated. We’ve got no bus service due to the Protzenweiher Brücke being closed to traffic since it melted as a result of a barge collision a couple years ago. Up til now, Netto was very convenient and perhaps a reason why the citizens (not us) and inhabitants (us) have not yet revolted about the delayed bridge repairs and bus routes and transportation issues.

But I wonder if this was the last straw. One of the contributing factors when we decided to move here was the relative quiet — there’s really not a lot of car traffic around here, considering how close to the main drag we live, and all the businesses directly on it. But another major contributing factor was the availability of a supermarket, biomarkt, bakery, and butcher one 30-second walk out the front door of our building. Scratch the supermarket option, I guess.

Apparently, here’s what’s going on:

  • The owner of the building housing the Netto store needs to renovate the building (and this is obvious to anyone who walks by — it’s decrepit).
  • While the renovation is happening, no grocery store or anything else is going to be there.
  • The city of Regensburg pleaded with Netto to set up shop in another vacant building on the island and even offered to pay for a tent or something as a temporary shop, but Netto refused.
  • Renovation is scheduled to begin by March 2010.
  • Another grocery store — perhaps even Netto again — will set up shop in that building after the renovation is complete starting sometime in 2011.
  • So, this will be at least a year of hiking across the bridge back to the grocery stores we mostly used before we moved, unless they open up the Steinerne Brücke to bus traffic or fix the Protzenweiher Brücke and enable bus traffic via that route.

Here’s some local reaction. For the language enthusiasts, note the diversity of accents. It ranges from nearly hochdeutsch to pretty deep oberpfälzisch. Pretty representative of the various flavors of language we confront every day. Those of you who have visited Regensburg know what I’m talking about.

Big Cuke / Chess Fest 2008 opening night

First the interesting part — check out this cucumber we spotted at Edeka today while shopping!

Big Cuke

Next, a sampler from Chess Fest 2008’s opening night last night:
[audio:http://www.regensblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/jazzfest20080711-or-why-sarah-will-not-be-leave-the-house-this-weekend.mp3]

Locals: wondering why Sarah’s not to be found outside the apartment this weekend? Here’s why. To be fair, the weather was positively awful. The wind noise at the beginning of the track was that of wind getting amplified through the salsa band’s microphones and speakers, not my MD recorder. It was pouring. So I gotta give ’em credit for gumption inspite of the weather, at least.

I’m hoping for some less whitebread-sounding stuff this evening. Stumbling upon something as cool as the Jazz Police like at last year’s Bürgerfest would be redeeming.

Jazzfest Jazzfest Jazzfest