Esselunga Scores Again

I make no secret of the fact that we shop at Esselunga every week, a great place for normal groceries.  And we go to Lidl when they have specialty weeks (Asian week, British week) for the hard to find items that we need along with shopping the specialty stores in Arezzo, Florence, Rome or Nice.  So imagine my delight when Esselunga had an ….





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‘Ethnic Flavors’ promotion in late May and early June.


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Look at all this wonderful Asian food.  I was excited, hoping that they would perhaps have dumplings again but no…  For a while in the cooler of prepared food there were excellent eggrolls which could be fried and dumplings which could be steamed.  They were made by another business in bulk but repackaged and sold in smaller quantities by Esselunga.  Really, really good.  Then they stopped appearing in the case.  I am thinking that probably the manufacturer was raided or went out of business.  So for a while there were no eggrolls, then they appeared again.  The current version must be made in house since no Asian person would wrap the filling in what is being used.  The shell is now more of a crepe/eggy-flour pancake type than a normal eggroll skin.  Which is really sad because I know egg roll skins are available here since I bought some and made eggrolls a few months back during the great Esselunga egg roll draught of 2013.   I was delighted to get frozen edaname, but again,not quite right, already shelled.  I like them in the shell which I boil quickly and then salt heavily and pop out of the shell to eat while drinking beer. 


But there was more than just Asian.  There was Indian, Moroccan, and Mexican. 


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Be sure not to miss that very Mexican ingredient, Salsa Tabasco, Mc Ilhenny.    It is the real stuff, made in Louisiana.  (You know that part of Mexico that is by the Mississippi)  Anyway, enough poking fun, I was happy to get it because it was a large bottle.  Should last us a while.  


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I liked the pictures so much that I cut up the ad and stuck it up on the shutters in my office. 


Then a week or so later it was Asian week at Lidl.


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‘Discover Asia with Lidl’  Even a contest to win a trip to Asia. 


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Lots of good products including


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Dried shiitakes. 


And the best of all


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Chinese beer


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Esselunga eggroll, coconut shrimp and Chinese beer from Lidl.  (Placemat from Esselunga, beer glasses from France) 


Then it was British week at Lidl!   Well we had to go back for our cheddar cheese supply.  I bought 3 pounds of it.  That will have to last six months or so until it is British week again. 


So imagine my delight when I was in Esselunga this week and the manager walked up to me and said I want to show you something.   (While I never worked for a grocery store in the US for various employers I worked in grocery stores, delivering, merchandizing, buying.  So I know how grocery stores work.  I know if you want something and you tell the manager they will try to get it.  Several years ago, I asked my Esselunga manager  for cheddar cheese. Even giving him a package of the brand that Lidl sells during British week.  But nothing had come of it.)  Well, he handed me a this…


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I was so excited that I squealed, jumped up and down, hugged him and then blushed because I was making a scene.  It is a regular item, not a ‘we’ll have it occasionally’ item.  Hopefully other Americans will see it and it will be popular enough to keep. 


So what I am rambling around to is an observation of how far Italy has come in the 7 years that we have been here.  We moved over 2 boxes of Asian ingredients and every trip back our suitcases have been filled with items I can’t find here.  Now the city of 100,000 that we live near, has a grocery that recognizes that other food besides Italian exists.  This is really such a huge break through.  Before you go off on some rant,  I know that I am surrounded by wonderful Tuscan food.  But remember that is primarily our only choice when we eat out.  I do not cook that much Italian food, mostly Asian.  (Since we honor my heritage by living here I think it is also important to honor Ben’s Asian roots.)   And now with the easy availability of all the sauces and special ingredients I am able to use all those good ingredients that Tuscany produces for us to eat with an ‘ethnic flavor’ which even Esselunga is now encouraging.   Now if I could just get Miller Lite beer, Krispy Kremes and Cheetos we would never have to go back to the US again. 


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Just a brush of olive oil and a quick stay on the grill.  These were very tasty.  Good Italian food doesn’t need much…



  1. Anna Lee B

    Tsingtao is one of the few beers I actually like. Amazing you can get it in your area! Love the beer glasses! Do you remember where in France you got them? Not that I will be there any time soon (I live in Vancouver, Canada). Really enjoy my ‘visits’ to la bella Toscana through your blog, one of the only ones I keep up on. Thanks for sharing! Anna Lee

  2. I know what you mean! I’m American too and the moment I saw that cheese on the ailse at Esselunga I bought two. 🙂 Now my fridge is never without.

  3. Yes, we gained cheddar but lost Roquefort. It used to be on the prepackage cheese aisle but now it has disappeared. It also disappeared from the ‘deli’ counter cheese space too for a while but I am seeing it occasionally there now.

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