What to Buy at the Grocery Store if You Can’t Afford a Trip to Italy

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, but your bank account’s a little dry, that’s annoying! Summer is the time to take a trip to Italy and literally everyone you follow on Instagram is there right now. But if you’ve added up all the costs of flying, staying, and dining and have come to the realization that a trip to the Amalfi Coast just isn’t in the cards, you’ve come to the right place. Sure, these delicious Italian foods from the grocery store won’t be served to you by a handsome server in the rustic hillsides of Italy, but if you squint real hard, tilt your head to the left, and use a little bit of imagination, it’ll feel like you’re experiencing the real thing. And you’ll still be able to pay rent next month.

Rao’s Homemade Limited Edition Reserve Cardoncelli Marinara

Rao’s Homemade has proven time and time again they can produce a god-tier pasta sauce, and their Limited Edition Reserve Cardoncelli Marinara is no different. This rendition has big pieces of mushroom so it’s nice and rustic. They add a pop of umami to the already deep, savory flavor of the sauce, which makes it perfect for staying in and treating yourself to the tastiest time you can have without boarding a plane. I’m telling you, pour this over a warm bowl of pasta, give it a little toss, and you can trick yourself into thinking you’re in a trattoria in a quaint Italian village.

Read the full ranking of the best marinara

Kirkland Basil Pesto

A trip to Costco is quite possibly the exact opposite of a trip to Italy, so do your best to get in and out before your vacation vibe is thrown into a tailspin! Grab their Kirkland brand Basil Pesto, rush home, and create a creamy pesto dish that’ll be so life changing, it’ll wash the stank of Costco right off of you and lull you into a comforting daydream where you’re spending a day in the birthplace of pesto, the coastal city of Genoa. Maybe you won’t feel the Italian sun on your skin, but you will taste cheesy, nutty, oily goodness, and that’s all you need sometimes.

Read the full ranking of the best pesto

La Molisana Bronze Die Spaghetti Quadrato Chitarra No. 1

Slurping down a plate of spaghetti in the land of pasta would be a dream come true, but that’s not what this list is about. In the meantime, we recommend La Molisana Bronze Die Spaghetti Quadrato Chitarra No. 1, a dried pasta as good as its name is long. La Molisana has a coarse texture so the sauce can really cling to it and a chew that’s otherworldly. Nothing quite lives up to handmade pasta, but this is the next best thing.

Read the full ranking of the best spaghetti

California Olive Ranch 100% California Extra Virgin Medium Rich & Vibrant

Perhaps it’s sacrilegious to direct you toward a California-made olive oil on this list of the best Italian foods, but we’re ballin’ on a budget here and this oil is seriously delicious. And lots of California has a Mediterranean climate, just like Italy! California Olive Ranch olive oil delivers a rich, mellow, and balanced flavor for a fraction of the price of a plane ticket to a Tuscan olive mill. Buy a stack of those little tasting cups that they give out at olive oil tastings, cut up a fresh loaf of bread, and have your own tasting in the comfort of your home while you save up for the real thing.

Read the full ranking of the best olive oil

Priano Prosciutto Italiano

Yes, prosciutto sounds fancy. But in Italian, it just means ham. You can use that tidbit when you do finally make the trek, but in the meantime, this Priano Prosciutto Italiano is about as close as you can get to authentic Italian ham. It’s lean, it’s dry, and it’s super meaty. Toss this between a couple of slices of freshly baked ciabatta (you’re on your own there) with olive oil, mozzarella, and dig in while you scroll Instagram and curse everyone you know.

Read the full ranking of the best prosciutto 

About the Author

Vinz Karl

Vinz Karl is a freelance contributor to Sporked and self-proclaimed Guy Fieri superfan. He believes in breakfast supremacy and is on a never-ending mission to try every flavor of Oreo out there. Originally from the Midwest, Vinz now resides in Los Angeles, where you can find him going on hikes, checking out new restaurants, and preparing for his eventual casting on CBS's Survivor.

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