Friday, 23 September 2011

Anna Maria's Health Food Shop

Anna Maria di Cane

When I became vegetarian at age 17, my mother thought I was just going through another teenage phase so she indulged me by clearing some space in the kitchen cupboards for my little cache of vegetarian basics.

I've always thought of that cupboard allowance as a very supportive gesture on her part considering that she probably saw all of those jars of grains, nuts and seeds as a bit strange.

Well, that seems like a lifetime ago and meat has not crossed my lips since then unless you count an unfortunate pot sticker incident at Harvey Nichols in London 10 years ago.

This may sound strange but whenever I travel I love to explore health food shops, hoping to find fun things that I've never seen before.  It's always interesting to see how vegetarian food varies by culture.

In Germany and France for example, along with an astounding array of high quality dairy products, their coolers and freezers are filled with meat-free versions of wieners, burgers and patés in any flavour you can imagine.

Curiously, the French also produce some of the most delicious and high quality soy milk products I've ever had outside of Kyoto.
Naturalia in Ventimiglia
In China and Singapore, fake meat products made of seitan seem to dominate, especially things that are shaped and flavoured like fish and seafood, with scales and all.  Dining in a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong last year, the salmon sushi that the waitress delivered to the table next us looked so real that we double checked with the hostess that the restaurant was indeed vegan.  It was.  I've always regretted not ordering some of that sushi. 

In general, I have a "give it a try" policy for fake meat products although I've drawn the line at seitan shrimp.

Closer to home, whenever I make my frequent visits to Ventimiglia, I love to pop in to Anna Maria di Cane's lovely Naturalia health food shop to buy goodies from her varied prodotti biologici or organic products.  As you can see from these photos, she carries a bit of everything and true to Italian culture, a huge array of cookies and crackers made of every grain imaginable.  She even accepts special orders and she's always gracious and patient with my limited Italian and willing to speak French when I'm struggling.

Lucky for me, her shop is directly across the street from Ventimiglia's huge produce market so after loading up on all the goodies there, her shop is the icing on the cake:  a gluten free, organic one, of course.

Prodotti Biologici
Via Roma 10/A - 18039 Ventimiglia (IM) ITALY
Tel 0184 35 19 19


1 comment:

james jhonson said...
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