by Melinda Gallo

What is this place?

I asked the guys at the place where I buy formaggio, prosciutto, latte, burro, salame, and uova (eggs) what they consider themselves as I can't find the right name to describe them. Sometimes I call them a latteria because I used to only buy milk from them. Then, I started calling them a gastronomia because that covered formaggio and prosciutto. So, I never know what to call the place I go to every time I go to the mercato.

When I asked the younger brother what they call themselves, his first response was alimentari (small grocer). But I asked, "Perché? Non è una salumeria o una gastronomia?" (Why? Isn't it a delicatessen?) He responded that they're more of a pizzicheria (Tuscan name for a cheese place) and that they became a salumeria (a place that sells cold cuts, like prosciutto, salame, etc.) only recently.

The older brother then chimed in and said that they're considered a mini-market, but I disagreed because they don't sell any groceries. With that, he pointed up to a small shelf where they have a few packages of caffè and a few other items, but I still don't think the word fits.

They explained that they used to only sell formaggio (cheese) and that some of the customers complained because they wanted to buy prosciutto and salame from them so they didn't have to go to multiple banconi (stalls).

He also explained that one of the other banconi sells formaggio, prosciutto, salame, and pasta fresca, so they were afraid that their customers would end up going there to get formaggio since they sell all the same items.

They also used to not sell latte because he explained that one guy used to have a small stand at the end of the aisle. When the milk guy left last year, they began selling latte because there was no other latteria (place that sells milk) in the mercato.

In the end, we agreed that they're a pizzicheria e salumeria even though that doesn't cover it all because they also sell latte and a few other items. I just can't bring myself to call it a mini-market or an alimentari, so my new name for them will have to do.

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