You just gotta love Esselunga

Ben and I enjoy grocery stores.  We enjoy looking at food, all the different products available and if Ben is not wandering around in a sugar deprived state the shopping experience can be a lot of fun.  Even more so here in Italy since we usually see something unique each shopping trip.  Every time a new store opens we are right there to see if it is worth the drive.   

When we lived in the US I had my favorite chains to shop at… Giant in Virginia, Harris Teeter in North Carolina, Super H (a Korean owned market) in Virginia.  Every now and then I would go in Whole Foods in Virginia.  Absolutely loved The Fresh Market in North Carolina. 

Yes, I know the Italian experience is to go to the little Mom and Pops right down the street and buy meat at one, veg at another, wine at another and so on.  But we live in the country.  We have no choice but to drive to town and once we have driven that far what is another few minutes down the road to Arezzo to a nice, clean, well stocked, big, American style grocery store.  The one we favor in Arezzo is Esselunga.  We prefer Esselunga over the COOP here in MSS or the IperCOOP in Arezzo because it is easier to park, cleaner, better organized, big enough but not too big (too big is one of IperCOOP’s flaws)  and I can find everything I need.  And it is much less expensive than either of those and very much less expensive than the Mom and Pops. 

Many shopping days we eat lunch at the bar there and then shop.  Like American stores Esselunga has a loyalty card, which we use.  No coupons but a weekly sale ad.  We are usually in the store the first or second day of the ad.  I have learned that if I see something it is best to buy it then.  No such thing as a rain check.  When they run out, they run out. 


A few weeks ago I was delighted to see that Campbells soups have returned to Esselunga.  They were stocked a few years ago but then disappeared.  Somehow they are back.  I imagine that somewhere in Italy there is a Campbells sales rep congratulating herself on getting space back on the shelves of Esselunga.


March 2011 sunset 001


Only 3 varieties, (from left to right) Tomato, Lobster Bisque and Cream of Mushroom.  Expensive, all cans a least 2 Euros on sale and 3 Euros if not on sale.  For right now I have enough Tomato but once that is gone I don’t know if I’ll be able to replenish that stock from my usual less expensive source.  So I am very happy to see it back again.


Recently the Esselunga (the name means ‘long S’ ) which is celebrating its 50th year in Tuscany has been handing out scratch off cards each time you shopped.  The grand prize was 10,000 Euros. 


march 2011 sheep 008


Not a very good picture but we did win 25 Euros off a shopping trip.  Whooo hooo!  Now you would think with a bar code on it all that would have to be done was to present it at the register.  Oh nooooo!  I had to go to the customer service desk, present Ben’s documents (the loyalty card is in his name) so they could inform the tax folks that Ben won 25 Euros worth of free shopping.  Now we have a different coupon for 25 Euros off that we can use anytime until the end of the year, assuming I don’t lose it.  My favorite pink fizzy wine is on sale this week.  25 Euros would buy a lot of bottles of it!  Campbells soup is back!  And I have 25 Euros off!  You just gotta love Esselunga!



  1. sherrie and franco

    hey guys!! yeah Campbells soups is back!! awesome!! I have to buy Healthy Choice now because it has no wheat glutin.. but its not bad…. yes every little bit helps now in this economy..
    I think we are paying over $1 can for Campbells tomatoe soup here and thats even in the commissary.. so food is high all over!

    hope you will the big one!!!
    have a great wkend! doesn’t look like the house will close today 😦


  1. Updates on Esselunga, Cider and the Crickets « friends and family in italy

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