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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

Ciao from Italy, and welcome back to G.P.S.! With my first week here coming to a close, I thought I would reflect on one of the most important things to me when traveling: food.

Italy is home to a lot of great food, a fact I have become very aware of in the past week. This can be largely attributed to the quality of the food, as Italy holds its companies to very high standards of food production thanks to its “traditional food” culture. Certain foods from non-European countries are barred from being shipped overseas because they do not meet certain standards or regulations held by the Italian government; this makes it impossible to find certain foods that I can easily pluck off the shelves at a grocery store or pick up at Target in the U.S. On top of this, Italian grocery stores are often smaller and do not have certain brands. While I’m thankful for this experience, the first few weeks are definitely going to be a bit of an adjustment as I figure out meal prep and snacks for each week.

Here are the top fifteen American foods I miss!

15. Garlic Bread

Believe it or not, garlic bread is not found in Italy, as it’s not actually Italian. While Italians sometimes put margarine or butter on bread, garlic knots, bread, or bread sticks seem to be more of an American delicacy.

14. Tacos

Most European countries are protective of their culture, especially in terms of cuisine. While Italians are obsessed with East Asian food (Milan even has a Chinatown), Latin and South Asian food types, particularly Mexican and Indian cuisine, are non-existent. I have seen one or two Indian grocery stores, but they are very rare. I can’t find nachos, fajitas, or any other spicy food I eat at home unless I make it myself; my roommate found soft taco shells at a grocery store and has since been making her own tacos with Italian beans and meat. I’m told it’s not nearly as good as those from the U.S.

13. Bagels

With a mom from New Jersey, bagels are of particular importance to me. I love a good bagel smeared with avocado, butter, or cream cheese. Bagels, however, can’t be found in Italy, neither can breakfast sandwiches. It’s a little disappointing to not have my favorite breakfast carbs, but I’ll settle for a baguette or focaccia.

12.Doritos While I am told they can be found in Germany and other countries in the EU, I can’t find any flavor of Dorito in Italy! I think I saw them inside of an Indian Grocery store as I passed, but I

could have been dreaming. I also have yet to find a similar type of chip to substitute. If anyone has suggestions, please send them my way!


While you can find vastly overpriced brownie mix at the “American Store” in Milan, they are non-existent otherwise. I sorely miss this comfort food my mom makes all the time at my house, eating the brownie batter and then the brownies themselves once they’re out of the oven. I could make them from scratch here, but no one knows what they are, so I may stick to local desserts. In all honesty, biscotti (cookie) gelato is definitely better than ice cream, and 1,000 times better than brownies.

10. Various Fruits

Different parts of Italy import different types of fruit, however, regardless of whether you are in Milan, Rome, or a tiny town in the hills, certain fruits are hard to procure. I have yet to find strawberries, pineapple, or kiwi, but I’m hoping that as the seasons change, I may be able to find them.

9. Chick-fil-A

Okay….as all my Scranton friends know, I love Chick-fil-A. Certain fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Five Guys, and Burger King have locations in Italy and throughout Europe; the food is slightly different, and better in quality. However, even with better quality food, none of their nuggets and fries can compete with Chick-fil-A.

8. Chicken Alfredo

While Chicken Alfredo is considered an “Italian” dish, it’s actually Italian American. If you ask for chicken alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, or chicken parmesan at an Italian restaurant in Italy, the server will be very confused, as those dishes only exist in the U.S. While you can find a butter and cheese sauce known in Italy as “al burro,” and indeed similar dishes to those listed above, they are not quite the same, and I find myself craving the pasta dishes my mom makes at home.

7. Goldfish

I initially learned in 2016 that Italians don’t have Goldfish, so I definitely should have stuffed some in my suitcase along with my Reese’s and Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (The TSA Dogs loved my bags). On that trip, my cousins drove my family and I to Lake Como, splitting everyone up to ride in different cars. My brother and I (who took the snacks) drove with my cousin Francesco. My brother and I soon after got hungry and opened the bag of Goldfish; I then offered some to Francesco. He tried a handful and then another, and another, before excitedly asking: “What are these?!” Apparently, Pepperidge Farm, the maker of Goldfish, is an American company and doesn’t ship overseas, meaning none of my snacks in Italy are smiling back.

6. Ranch or Caesar Dressing

“Italian dressing” is yet another Italian American invention. Italians do not use salad dressings that are popular in the U.S, like Ranch or Caesar, offering instead a vinaigrette type of dressing. The number of times I have struggled to eat plain salad…I would kill for American salad dressing.

5. Mac and Cheese

I miss eating mac and cheese, one of my favorite foods of all time. With so many other good options for pasta here, I guess it is spoiled of me to lament the loss of one I can have anytime back at home, but sometimes you need your comfort food.

4. Chocolate Chip Cookies

I miss biting into a gooey chocolatey cookie; they do not exist in Italy. The closest I can find is a hard cookie eaten for breakfast. It looks like a small chocolate chip cookie, but the hard exterior makes it more of a scone than a cookie.

3. Iced Coffee

I knew coffee across the pond would be difficult. I fully intend to write an entire article on Italian coffee culture, however, for now, I just want to rant about the lack of Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccinos, iced mochas and iced caramel macchiatos. You can get coffee with some chocolate added in, almost like a mocha, but to be honest, I would kill for some ice to put in the coffee.

2. Bacon

While this astonished both my boyfriend and my father, true bacon is not found in Italy. I am unsure where the disconnect begins because they do have pigs in Italy, however, it is prepared differently. The closest thing Italians have to bacon is a very thick, crunchy pork called pancetta. It’s good, but honestly can’t compare, especially because my favorite type of pasta is spaghetti carbonara (which, in the U.S, is made with bacon instead of pancetta). I guess I won’t be eating BLTs for a little while…

1. Reese’s

At first, I thought the lack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was somehow linked to the fact that Hershey, Reese’s’ parent company, makes their U.S chocolate with bucolic acid. To my surprise, though, I found Hershey bars on shelves in grocery stores this week. What I quickly discovered is that the disconnect comes not from bucolic acid, but peanuts. Peanuts are not grown in Italy, and as a result, peanut butter is not popular. As a result, the company felt it didn’t make sense to ship their peanut butter candy bar overseas. I brought some from home for my friends and cousins here in Italy and their reactions were adorable.

All in all, I look forward to trying new foods! I just ate “pasta e fagioli” for the first time, and it’s not as good as mac and cheese, but it’s the experience that matters. As stated previously, the food here is better quality, so there are some health benefits, and all of the food I have tried certainly tastes better. In truth though, aside from missing my iced coffee, it’s all worth it for gelato.

Gabriella Palmer is an English and Theater major with a minor in Philosophy and a Legal Studies Concentration at the University of Scranton. In her free time, you will likely find Gabriella discussing obscure history, mock trial, or the latest show opening on Broadway. She is an avid traveler, and her favorite activities include acting, singing, and of course, writing.