11 June, 2011


A rare visit to England for a funeral (my Godfather, Cyril Scolding, a good egg, who died a couple of weeks short of his 100th birthday). What really astonished me was the price of everything. The supermarkets contain every kind of food, condiment or drink you can imagine, a far greater international breadth than in Italy, but it seems 20% more than we are used to paying (and the Germans think Italy is expensive). The pubs in particular are an outrageous price.

It is still quite impossible to get a decent coffee, despite 'Italian' chains. A coffee flavoured dishwater in Costa (marginally better than Starbucks) was £1.45, twice the price of a decent espresso here.

France, with equally bad coffee, was slightly better on the food front, and I was introduced to Tripou, the Auvergne's answer to Haggis. At most hotels the wine started at €20.

Back in civilisation, we stopped at a trattoria near Carrara. The menu was €10, which included drinkable wine and mineral water. I had gnocchi with squid and zucchini, followed by a pork steak with chips and salad. That's £8.75 a head with wine.

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