Italians like their food. Especially fresh food or proper original food.
Therefore, the best pesto (apparently as, to be honest, it’s NOT my favourite thing) is made in Liguria (and, more specifically, Genoa.)
Obviously, you can get pesto here, in Milan. And, sometimes, F, who is just a tad crazy over pesto, says that the pesto is good (normally the fresh pesto sauce we get from the local pasta shop – yes, they have pasta shops selling just pasta and sauces.) Rarely has he said that about anything we buy from a supermarket.
There have been exceptions, of course. The Parma ham I got from our local Carrefour was, apparently, rather superb. It was from the deli counter so was cut extra thin, on his instructions, didn’t have much fat and was “sweet”.
If we want some much better food than the supermarket, we go to the pasta shop, the veg shop, the butchers, etc. For really good fruit and veg, the Tuesday market is the best.
But, if you want really special versions, go direct to the producers, of course. The very best mozzarella that I’ve ever tasted was one that F’s parents served up one time. They get a lot of their food shipped specially to them (from relatives) or from local small holders. F, for example, doesn’t like to eat eggs from the supermarket because they aren’t “fresh” (his words.)
Supermarkets are great for cleaning products, dog food and stuff like that. Day-to-day food (coffee, sugar, dried pasta,etc.)
They buy in bulk and get everything for a good price which means they are cheaper. But, things like strawberries, etc. are, usually, pretty bland and tasteless (as is mozzarella, imho).
Even up-market supermarkets aren’t that “wow!”
And up-market supermarkets will quite happily sell you the same (for example) wine that you can buy at Billa or Carrefour but at a much higher price.
Now, I confess, I’ve never been to Eataly. But, I know people who have. In Milan, just recently, a great theatre (Smeralda) was closed down, was refurbished and re-opened as the flagship Eataly store in Milan. People swear by it. But, so I have been informed by someone who knows a thing or two about wine, it is nothing more than an up-market version of any old supermarket. It sells some “special” things and then some ordinary things but at much higher prices.
But, I have to admit, their marketing is definitely up-market in that people really believe they are getting something special. I’m sure there are some things that really are special. However, I suspect that most of it will not be although the prices will be special.
In this country of wondrous food, this kind of faux-speciality really annoys me.
Instead, if you want the real stuff, seek out the smaller shops that really do have something special.