# Europe Forums

## Recent Activity

View all Europe activity »
1. 1
2. 2
3. 3
4. 4
5. 5
6. 6
7. 7
8. 8
9. 9
10. 10
11. 11
12. 12
13. 13
14. 14
15. 15
16. 16
17. 17
18. 18
19. 19
20. 20
21. 21
22. 22
23. 23
24. 24
25. 25
Back to the top

# Ordering in a Deli

I will be in Bologna and Rome next month and would love to order food for take out - cheese and/or meat. Can anyone tell me how to order (in Italian) a quarter pound or a half pound? For example - a half pound of pecorino cheese? Or - a quarter pound of mortadella? Thanks!

20 Replies | Jump to bottom
• Report Abuse

You don't order in pounds in Italy.

Either use 500 g ("cinquecento grammi") or 1/2 kg ("mezzo chilo") for a pound. The common unit to use for smaller amounts would be the etto, which is 100 grams: "un' etto" = 100 g, "due etti" = 200 g etc.

• Report Abuse

Be sure to practice your pronunciation:

gabagool, brazhoot, rigot, mutzadel...

Or maybe not

• Report Abuse

A kilo is 2.2 pounds; 500 grams would be a little more than one pound; 250 grams would be approx 1/2 pound; 125 grams approx 1/4 pound.

• Report Abuse

"LOL pounds."

I fail to see what is so funny. The OP specifically asked for pound figures "(in Italian)."

Many tourists don't know what an etto is, and they don't don't know how to convert ounces to etti. For smaller weights of food items in Italy, it helps to know your numbers in etti. Here is my approximate breakdown:

uno etto = 3.5 ounces
due etti = 7 ounces
tre etti = 10.5 ounces
quattro etti = 14 ounces

• Report Abuse

NYCFoodSnob - Thanks so much! This is exactly what I was looking for. I do understand that food is not weighed by the pound in Europe. But I was confused by units of measure less than one pound. So if I wanted 7 ounces of mortadella - I would ask for due etti mortadella! Thanks!

• Report Abuse

BomDia: it's mootzarell or mortadel and riggut, not rigot.

At least that's how my neighbors pronounced it. But I'd not use the Sicilian-emigre-in-America pronunciation in Bologna.

Bab: check out this site for more info. It works for etto/etti (note, Italian plurals don't end in s).

http://www.convertunits.com/

• Report Abuse

My trick when I don't know the measurements is to say (in Italian or Spanish or whatever) "enough for 2 people" or hold my fingers to show the size of the stack I'm after. that's always worked for me.

• Report Abuse

This is an interesting thread.

I would write the amount on a piece of paper and hand it to the person so you don't get 4 pounds of whatever!

Is there a word for portion or slice? Such as if you want to buy a slice or portion of quiche or tart?

• Report Abuse

Thanks everybody for your comments and feedback. I'm going to add the following to my trip notes and want to make sure I have it right. Can someone confirm?

Ordering Cheese/Meat

100 grams = 3 ounces (un etto)
200 grams = 7 ounces (due etti)
300 grams = 10 ounces (tre etti)
500 grams = 1 pound (cinque etti)

• Report Abuse

"One slice" is "una fetta", but Italians don't order "slices" of cake or pie. You would say, "one portion", "una porzione", or "one piece", "un pezzo". Two would be "due porzioni" or "due pezzi".

• Report Abuse

You're close enough for government work. You're really dealing with about 3.5 oz/100g.

28.35g = 1 oz
454g = 1 lb
500g = 1/2 kilo = 17.6 oz

• Report Abuse

A pound is 500 g to Europeans. The American pound is lighter.
And saying "mezzo chilo" is more common than "cinque etti", but the latter will be understood.

When ordering for example prosciutto, asking for x slices ("fettine") is not uncommon, and makes sense if you want it for a takeaway picnic because it will be cut and ready to put on bread. Take into account that they usually cut it very very thin so you may need a couple more than you estimated.

• Report Abuse

bvlenci - Thanks!

BigRuss - I'm glad I'm close. I'm just trying to get enough cheese for a taste - or a sandwich!!

• Report Abuse

Or just get a good looking pre-made sandwich.

• Report Abuse

I hear the Boloney in Bologna is tops? True?

• Report Abuse

Boloney is "mortadella" in Bologna.

Most grocers will make you a sandwich, charging you just for the cost of the roll and the weight of the meat or cheese. You won't really find delis as known in the US. Italians don't put things like mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard on their sandwiches, and neither do they put tomatoes, lettuce, or onions. It will just be meat or cheese, nude and crude, on a roll.

It's worth your while to learn what type of salami or other cured meat, or cheese, is made locally, because they are likely to have the highest quality of that type of meat or cheese. For example, you'd probably find a very high quality mortadella in a grocery in Bologna, while in Naples, the mortadella might be an industrial product at most grocers.

In the evening, it's not a bad idea to buy the makings of a sandwich at a grocer, along with something to drink and some fruit, and take it back to the hotel to have supper. You can even buy a tube of mayonnaise for your sandwich! This is an excellent way to sample high quality local cheeses and cured meats. Add a good local wine, and you'll have a low-cost gastronomic tour.

• Comments have been removed by Fodor's moderators

20 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.