Strong alcoholic drinks are available in both most local groceries and chain food supermarkets in Italy. It's not, say, Scandinavia or the USA with limited number of, sometimes open, liquor stores.
What to buy: Prime Uve is well-known pure grape distillate (alcoholic content: 40° alc.; 80° proof) produced by the Distillery Bonaventura Maschio in Gaiarine, Treviso province, bordering Austria and Slovenia. It's available, in bottles of 100, 350, 700 and 3000 ml, in all local groceries and supermarkets of Italy.
Well, I didn't buy it. But, thanks to one thirsty US VT-er (guess who? :-), I tasted its hard flavour in Alla Borsa restaurant during European VT-meeting in Valeggio sul Mincio. Well, its aroma was moderately aromatic (fruity and floral) and the flavour was luckily more delicate than many other vodka.
What to pay: € 2.50 per vodka glass (25 ml?) in Alla Borsa Restaurant, Valeggio sul Mincio (Verona). Much cheaper in a grocery :-).
It's my strong recommendation to buy and taste local wine wherever you are in Italy. Often inexpensive wine (skip the cheapest) tastes surprisngly great! They are available in both... souvenir shops, chain supermarkets (not my recommendation: less choice of LOCAL wines there, noone to ask anything, and some wines maybe too long stored there, right?) and in numerous local groceries which luckily survived till now in Italy :-). Add here local weekly markets, wineries and "vendita (e degustazioni) vino" = tasting and direct sale points in the farm (Azienda Agricola).
BASIC WINE VOCABULARY
Il vino = wine
Il vino spumante = sparkling wine
Il vino rosso = red wine
Il vino bianco = white wine
Il vino rosato = pink wine
Il vino secco = dry wine
Il vino semisecco = semidry wine
Il vino dolce = sweet wine
La bottiglia di... = a bottle of...
Quanto costa X ? = How much is X ?
Salute! = cheers! :-)))
There are three major wine regions near Valeggio sul Mincio and Lake Garda: Bardolino, Valpolicella and Soave.
What to buy: My recommendation are the quality wines white Bianco di Custoza and red Bardolino, produced by numerous wine growers and producers of the hills surrounding Vallegio sul Mincio. I tasted them in local restaurants.
Bardolino (2003; Azienda Agricola Monte del Fra), I bought, is inexpensive (but not the cheapest) light, light-red coloured, dry and slightly bitter wine which tastes surprisingly good - my recommendation.
Valpolicella classico (2004; Bonazzi I Camponi) is inexpensive, dark-red, semidry wine, typically drunk young, which tastes good but nothing fancy.
Amarone della Valpolicella (1996; Recchia Elli) is a strong, dry, long-lived red wine made from a blend of partially dried red grapes. It was the most expenive and not so easy to find wine, the best of the three wines, I bought!
What to pay: Per bottle: Valpolicella classico - € 6.00; Bardolino - € 8.00; Amarone della Valpolicella - € 16.00.
I paid approx. € 1.50 - € 2.00 per glass of wine (good :-) in local restaurants.
While I drive a long way (quite often during my trips) I like to eat some snacks, at least from time to time. So, in each visited country, I hardly look for local, inexpensive and good snacks. In Valeggio each local grocery offered similar snacks, both local and pan-European ones including a few kinds of Italian fagolosi = breadsticks.
What to buy: My recommendation is on my picture (do enlarge!): fagolosi al rosmarino - breadsticks with rosemary, produced by Italian company - Grissin Bon. Well, I tasted them in Alla Borsa restaurant, but those in local groceries were packed in larger paper bags (250 g).
What to pay: € 1.50 per 250g bag.
Postage stamps (francobolli) in Valeggio are available surely in local post office, but as well in local "tabacchi" (newsstands) and in some souvenir shops in a hamlet of Borghetto.
Post office is open Mon - Fri 8.00 am - 7.30 pm and on Sunday till 1.00 pm. Warning: on the last business day of each month it closes an hour earlier. Tabacchi and some souvenir shops are open on Sunday.
Post office box is located, for sure, close to the Town Hall, on the main street from St. Peter's church to Piazza Carlo Alberto.
What to buy: Postage stamps (francobolli).
Warning 1: Italian post (Poste Italiane) is considered the slowest in Europe. Hmm... I am not sure about it but, just in case, I sent all my postcards by priority mail. They should reach any European destination in up to 3 days and overseas in up to 5 days. But, indeed, it lasted longer - even a week to Poland and more to the USA.
Warning 2: Official website of Italian Post Office welcome visitors with the writing: Servizio non disponibile. Il servizio è temporaneamente sospeso. Ci scusiamo per il disagio arrecato.
Do enjoy :-).
What to pay: Depends on destination (continent). Postage stamps for postacard sent outside Italy by priority mail (posta proritaria) cost approx. 25 - 35 eurocents as I remember well.
I found a few souvenir shops and galleries in a hamlet of Borghetto but they were closed in the evening when I was there. So I could do only window shopping. The same to few souvenir shops located in the center. On Saturday there is a local market in the center of the town. It's locarted along, close for traffic that time, main street of Valeggio, north of St. Peter's church.
What to buy: In windows of local souvenir shops I saw local ceramics, glass and wooden products made by the local craftsmen.
In local groceries (a few were open on Sunday!) I paid attention to sorted wines, local salami, salted and dried codfish called "baccala" and first of all great Italian ham (prosciutto). One of VT-ers bought a sweet gift: a box of these assorted chocolades (locollatini assortiti) by Caffarel, on my picture. Caffarel is an Italian chocolate company founded in 1826 in Torino. Their products are available all over EU including Poland. Are they sold in your country, too?
What to pay: Generally a bit lower prices than in touristy areas of Verona and towns around Lake Garda.
Walking around tiny center of Vallegio I saw a few local groceries. Few of them were open on Saturday and Sunday though. I did window-shopping in one of them looking especially at numerous local wines (a guide needed) and amazing large pieces of dry pork meat (ham) hang beneath a roof. Expensive food but they would look nice in my kitchen :-).
What to buy: I would look for these local, delicious (none others) youghurts in small jars, on my picture. They were served for breakfast in Cacciatore hotel. I liked them a lot although I am not a fan of youghurts. I liked more this white (milk) jar than pink (fruit) one.
What to pay: Wine, I would buy, costs 5 - 20 € per bottle. There are cheap, larger containers (5 liters) with table wine but I am not sure of its taste.
It is not that famous like the one from San Daniele, but local prosciutto from the area of the Mincio Valley is certainly of the prestigues quality. Trust me, I have tasted it in a several ocassion and it is delicious. The best is if you take it along with the melon.
This one, across the wooden bridge, is my favourite. It offers local salami, baccala, sorted wines and great prosciutto. I hope some of you wont spend all day long inside of it, although it is big temptation.
The next souveniers shop, close to previous one, offers local craft from ceramics and glass. The prices are not too high and am sure you'll find yourself something to reminds you on VT meeting.
Borghetto is exclusively weekends touristic destination. There is nothing here but restaurants, pastry shops, galleries, cafe-bars and above all exceptional souveniers shops. This one offers very nice wooden products made by the local craftsmen.