If you’ve been following Just a Sliver, you might have noticed that the recipe posts have been limited since arriving in Italy. We have been here for just over a month and finally I have found nearly everything I need to get back to baking. Living abroad makes you realize how much you take convenience for granted. Here you have to go to the grocery store with a list and a translated list and a Google search on where you might find these items in the store. When we lived in Germany a few years ago I was lucky enough to have fellow expat friends who were basically experts at the German life. They told me where to buy everything, the translated name, what the packaging looked like, and exactly where to find whatever it was I was looking for. Talk about spoiled. This time it’s been a lot more difficult and I’ve been very discouraged. But at last, I feel like I have succeeded! Hopefully this post on buying baking ingredients in Italy will help other expats living abroad to find what they’re looking for!
For whatever you cannot find in the store or for those treats that you are craving while being away from home, check out My American Market website for online ordering!
1. Flour: In Italy you will find 100 different types of flour. It’s crazy! Never have I ever seen so many in one place. All of the flours will be together in the baking aisle of the grocery store – I use the term baking aisle loosely as it is not really what we are used to at home. For your all-purpose flour, look for something along the lines of Farina tip “00”. Usually each flour will have a photo of what it is used for which is very helpful! (pizza, bread, tarts, etc.)
2. Sugar: don’t look for sugar in the baking aisle! It is found in different places in the grocery store. I’ve seen it in the coffee section and also on a display underneath the bread counter. Granulated sugar is called Zucchero Semolato and sometimes will also say Classico.
3. Baking Powder: usually you can find baking powder in the baking aisle near the flour, although I have also seen it in the bottom of a display near the cash registers. It will be in paper pouch and actually contains 4 small packages of baking powder inside. Avoid baking powder with Vanilla flavoring as it will change the taste of whatever you’re baking. Sometimes the package will say “American Style” or will have a photo of what it is best used for (bread, pizza, etc.) Baking Powder in Italy is called Agente Lievitante
4. Baking Soda: look for baking soda near the bottled water and drinks or in the cleaning aisle. Interesting, I know. Baking soda in Italy is called Bicarbonato di Sodio.
5. Vanilla Extract: bring from home! They do sell vanilla flavor (or “aroma”) that you can get away with but it doesn’t provide that rich, vanilla flavor that we are used to.
6. Brown Sugar: bring from home! It is common throughout Europe to not be able to find brown sugar in any grocery store. They do sell it on My American Market though.
7. Pumpkin Puree: we all need pumpkin puree at this time of the year. Unfortunately you won’t be able to find it in many places in Europe. This week I will be making homemade puree so stay tuned for that post!
8. Chocolate Chips: while you won’t find Netsle’s Chocolate Chips in Europe, you can find some delicious alternatives. Here in Italy they are called Gocce di Cioccolate Fondente (translates to drops of chocolate fudge) and can be found in the baking aisle. Usually they are what we would consider mini chip size.
9. Powdered Sugar: called Zucchero a Velo, it can be found in similar packaging as baking powder and usually right next to it. I have yet to find it in any larger packaging.
10. Butter: not hard to find butter here! It’s called Burro and I use this link to remind me how many grams per cup, half cup, etc. I try to only buy the bars with the 25g markers on the packaging to assist with accuracy.
If you have any additional tips for buying baking ingredients abroad, I would love to hear them!