Category Archives: Florecne

Bagging up cultural differences

By Hannah Dustman


Colorful groceries, Florence. Photo by Hannah Dustman

FLORENCE, Italy – I bought several apples, a couple of ripe bananas and a soft loaf of bread on my first trip to Conad, an Italian grocery in the historic center of town, totaling just around €3.

I always thought traveling, especially abroad, would be expensive. But a carton of raspberries was roughly €2 and I have paid upwards of $4 for approximately the same amount at home. Even with the exchange rate favoring the euro, this is nearly half price at $2.28. Additionally, a box of Conad brand pasta was only 44 cents. While it is relatively inexpensive to buy pasta in the U.S., it is not usually 44 cents-cheap.

Another thing I learned from my first visit to the Italian grocery store was each shopper bags and weighs their produce and adds the price label themselves before going to check out. Being unaware of this, I had difficulty understanding what the clerk was instructing me to do. It was like he was speaking a foreign language…oh wait.

“I’ll know better next time,” I said with a nervous smile, not in Italian. Back to the moment at hand, I bagged up, reminded that I was half way around the world.



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A gelateria on every corner

By Christine Jackson

FLORENCE, Italy –In Chicago they say there’s a Walgreens on every corner. Here the same could be said for gelaterias. They dot corners, side streets and piazzas, each one offering to fill the craving that comes at any and every hour. No matter what street you’re on or what time it is, someone in this city always seems to be holding gelato.

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In the US somebody is probably going to judge you if you’re carrying an ice cream cone around at 10:30 in the morning on a rainy day. Not so here in Florence, where the creamy dessert is constantly present in the streets and on cozy tables throughout the city.

Gelato is similar to ice cream, but the process of making it is slightly different. Gelato has more milk and less egg and a typical cream recipe. It is also churned more slowly, which adds less air and makes it more dense. The differences in processes are slight, but the difference in flavor is noticeable. Gelato has a smoother texture and is never icy like some ice creams are. The flavors are also far richer than any ice creams I’ve had, perhaps due to the density. The flavors in ice cream may also diluted by their greater proportion of cream, but that’s just speculation.

The peach gelato I tasted had an incredibly strong peach flavor, but not in an artificial or syrupy way. Even the homemade peach ice cream I’ve had at roadside stands in Georgia and Alabama can’t touch the flavor that was packed into my tiny spoonful at Enrico’s gelateria and bar.

The quality of this popular dessert (and snack … and sometimes lunch) is only outdone by the quantities available. Beyond the many, many gelaterias, bright cases beckon from restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and convenience stores. Whether in tourist-tempting mountains of color and toppings or whorled tightly and correctly into their containers, gelato is everywhere.

Not that we’re complaining

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Filed under Florecne, MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism