Shopping at the Erboristeria in Italy

Ciao a tutti!

It can be frustrating shopping at the Italian traditional supermarkets sometimes, unless they are specifically health food stores, like NaturaSi. Although most of them are starting little by little to put in special “health” food isles and offer different plant-based milks and sauces, the challenge sometimes comes from the smaller supermarkets. Also, cookies and breads are difficult to find.

If you are shopping for cosmetics or toiletries finding anything eco, natural and plant-based is almost impossible.

Most small towns and cities have herbal shops, or Erboristerie. These places are usually small and do not carry fruits and vegetables, however they carry natural products, cosmetics and herbs for medicines or teas.

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Some of the items you can usually find are:

  • seitan
  • tofu
  • other meat substitutes
  • vegan cookies (in fact I have always found the best cookies at the Erboristeria!)
  • jellies
  • bread
  • nut butters
  • vegan sauces
  • vegan cosmetics
  • and more!

The products are sometimes higher cost, but the quality is very good. Although every now and again you can hit the sales and get some discounts (sconti), which is better than some of the traditional supermarket prices!

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One of the advantages at the Erboristeria is you can find traditional local products that you will not find at chain supermarkets. Some of the smaller companies that make handmade products have their items here. This is why the quality is sometimes so much better than the supermarket. You are also helping to support local businesses.

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At some you will also find some of the best selection of teas! It is whole leaf, although they do have boxed teas as well. At the bigger ones you can find herbs that are not available anywhere else. It is like going back in medieval times to an alchemical warehouse of unique plants and herbs!

VegItalyGuide.com

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