Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lighting a fire

I love cooking with gas, over an open fire or (bliss!) a wood fired oven. However, regardless of the fuel source, I still need to light a flame.

Lighting a fire in Italy requires a bit of memory work for a visitor. I'd forgotten this until I was reminded by a friend also in San Giorgio Morgeto for the Festival.. but stopping at a tabaccheria or tabacchaio as well as the supermarket, butchershop, cheese shop or salumeria and possibly baker (if your bread isn't delivered to your door) isn't something your average Canadian would be familiar with, that is, if you're a non-smoker.

Why?

You just can't buy matches anywhere in Italy. The Italian state has a monopoly (and a website if you're interested) on tobbacco and everything associated with the use of it, including, but not limited to, fiammiferi (matches).

A tabaccheria also sells a various assortment of other seemingly odd bedfellows. Most importantly for a tourist: phonecards (recharge prepaid cellphones), bus/transport tickets, souvenirs, postcards and stamps. Snacks and drinks are also common. If you're staying awhile or permanently, it's useful to know that your local may also carry salt, newspapers/magazines, lotto tickets, tax and vehicle stamps. It is also possible you will find playing cards, shaving soap, toothpaste and sometimes videopoker/slot machines/pokies.

A much better explanation is available here courtesy of An Expatriate in Ripallo.

Grazie EiR.

3 comments:

Nigel Olsen said...

Mary! That sounds a lot like the tobacconists of old back here in NZ. I remember my dad saying that they were one of the tiny handful of places that sold condoms back in the 50's!

farfalle1 said...

Thanks for the link, Mary. I hadn't found your site before, but I am going to enjoy reading it from now on!

Mary said...

Hi Nigel,
This made me laugh! Wonder what the old-timers think now that condoms are available in every supermarket and dairy in the country!

Hello Farfalle1,
And I enjoy reading about your lovely part of Italy. Thank you!