Food shopping is one of those tasks that you have to do. Weather you do it online, at a street market or a supermarket. Maybe even a warehouse or a mega mart.
I’ve been here for 13 months now. I’ve gone through bottles of washing powder that stink and make my skin itchy. I’ve bought something that I thought was cottage cheese and it certainly was not. I’ve craved Oak chocolate milk and some decent vegetable stock cubes.
Settled for chocolate milk and now know which stock cubes will give the best flavour, after many, many purchases!
When I first arrived my in laws invited some friends for dinner and I had a list of questions. Where to buy meat, free range eggs, etc etc. I was given some half hearted answers and sent in the direction of the expensive spanglish supermarket. Not the best place seeing as though we didn’t have a car and it is more than 15 km away!
So I experimented. I tried the local supermarkets (it was still a 2.5 km walk into town each day) and when we did get further away I trotted into any supermarket I saw.
As I said, 13 months in, I now purchase most fruit and vegs from an outdoor market on a Sunday. I purchase cat food, box juice and toilet paper from the biggest chain of Supermarkets in Spain Mas Y Mas Carrefour is a once a month run for washing liquid, always two for one. Mouthwash and frozen peas. Booze for Mr E comes from an independent supermarket catering to English, German and Scandinavian clients. We also go to a very Scandinavian supermarket for my pickles and Resin caramel cravings (It’s all the baby’s fault!)
Mrs Green, a rather stylish mature lady who promises to teach me the secrets to perfect bread and making lemon curd in the microwave. Today, I asked her to take me to her supermarkets and to see what new things I could find.
Mr E is for the most part is perfect, however me standing in front of the spice section umming and ahhing about which smoked paprika I want to buy seems to test his saintly patience. So off we went as two ‘single’ ladies. My friend Mrs Green has a husband, Mr Green who suffers as Mr E does when shopping is involved. So we hit a rather well known international chain of supermarkets. I proved good for ‘fun things’ Cheese, jamon, even a swimsuit. As it has a high turn over Mrs Green advised me that you can’t always rely on what will be in store. Shop here- including a hunk of ginger and some button mushrooms came in at 13 euros.
Our next stop was the other huge Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona, where the majority of Spanish people shop. I’ve not been to one and I was impressed. There is lots of variety, even self raising flour.
*Spainards don’t do self raising flour. You have add the self raising to the regular stuff. I was even able to purchase tofu for Mr E. Shop here came in at 20 Euros, including some fresh yeast and some baked beans!
Mrs Green was super helpful; from what washing up gloves are the best, to what is the Spanish equivalent of Napisan/bread flour/ Worstershire sauce. It seems like a no brainer, with I-phones to translate and pictures on most packets-right? But its not, and on top of getting yourself to the supermarket, a list, reusable bags, getting used to saying Hola to everyone you meet it can be a big job.
For my English/Spanish readers. What if someone was to take you around to the supermarkets when you first arrived? Do you think it would have helped?
For my Aussie readers, maybe someone new moves in on your street. How about offering them a lift to the local shopping centre and being a tour guide for the day?
Love and Loquats