Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy

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10:03 CEST+02:00
It’s the question on everyone’s lips: Which country in The Local's network offers the best value for wistful expats craving comfort food and drink from home? Well, wonder no more!

Our mission was this: hit the streets of Vienna, Madrid, Paris, Stockholm, Berlin, Rome, Lausanne and Oslo and fill a basket with 14 items that fill the hearts and clog the arteries of Anglophone foreigners everywhere.

When in Rome, why not sample some stracciatella soup, a plate of succulent osso buco, all topped off with tiramisù? 

Forget about it! Where’s my Jell-O! 


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Photo: Mikey Jones

What then will it cost to get hold of these delicacies in cities across Europe? Scroll over the heat map below to count the cost of foodie homesickness.

How we tracked down the goodies

We trekked all over Rome to hunt down the goodies on the list. Our reward? Sore feet and a bill that came to €80.74, more expensive than what expats in Germany, France and Spain would spend on the same items, but did they get to marvel at the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps along the way? No!

Italians are precious about their national cuisine, so when The Local Italy set about tracking down products from abroad, it was quite a challenge.

We hadn't come across PG Tips, HP Sauce or Heinz baked beans at any of the city's markets or supermarkets such as DeSpar, Carrefour and Tuodi, and so made some inquiries within the expat community.

"Go to Castroni!" was the recommendation.

So we first headed down to the store on Via Flaminia, near Flaminio metro station, and expected just a shelf with maybe some British tea and the odd jar of jam.

But we were amazed to find almost every item on the list, apart from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Hershey's chocolate, Samuel Adams Boston lager and pork sausages, which have instead been priced on an average across the other cities where The Local is based.

We had to venture to Rome's Fiumicino airport to find Famous Grouse whiskey, which was our most expensive item at €18.00, while we found Jell-O at the Castroni in the Parioli area.

That's the other good thing about Castroni: if you don't find what you're looking for in the first shop you go to, there are ten other branches across the city, with some including coffee bars in case you crave an Italian coffee.

We discovered that the shop really is a favourite among expats who are pining for a taste of home.

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"My husband was really missing Salad Cream, so was so excited to find it there!" one expat told us.

But it's not just British or American brands on offer. There are delights from all over the world, so if you're missing ingredients for a Thai curry or seasoning for your Mexican Fajitas, head to Castroni.

Some of the branches also have websites so you can see what's in stock before you visit.

Use the scroll bar on the chart below to see all the prices. 


 Incidentally, we're aware that we've navel-gazed somewhat and overlooked a lot of nationalities. Please let us know what you miss from your country in the comments or on social media. Can you give us the ingredients we need for another article?

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