Grocery Store Around The World

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by isa, Nov 3, 2000.

  1. isa

    isa

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    Let's start with the best store. Of all the food stores I visited, my favourites are in France. They just have the knack for it I guess. Presentations are always so perfect. Everything always looks wonderful. Since no one can be perfect I'll say that even if they have the best food they have the worse clerks even when you speak the language. Things improve once you leave Paris though.


    Now for the worse. I have two contenders. Morocco where the markets are held outdoor. I remember this guy with a beef on a wooden buggy. Cutting it to needs. The flies around that place were unreal and I won't mention the smell. Next I'll say Russia. They make excellent chocolate but that is about all you can find in their stores. Empty shelves everywhere. Not that you get to see much of it. You hand your list to a clerk that runs around the store gathering everything for you. And they wonder why the lines are so long. Wonder if someone thought of self service yet.


    Sisi
     
  2. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Yes, the open-air markets are wonderful. I remember piles of snails, gorgeous lemons and sides of lamb in Athens; jewel-like fruits in the streets of Paris; and appealing greens in markets in the Nord region in summer. But I'm fascinated by the items in the grocery stores which are daily sights to the locals, but exotica to me. For example, the French take for granted their wonderful baguette, which I find as good (in its own way) in a Monoprix as in a small corner bakery. There seem to be fewer canned and frozen foods in French chain groceries (Monoprix, Carrefour, LeClerc) and more fresh stuff. And the cheeses.... even we jaded Wisconsinites, who have seven or eight brands of brick or Muenster to choose from everywhere, would be astounded at the variety and quality in a typical supermarket. The deli counter can hold my attention for an hour, easily. It's fun to see U.S. brands on the shelves (I saw Old El Paso brand there in 1998). I had my husband fuming when we shopped in New Hampshire on vacaton last July. Regional differences showed up there. It's just fun to browse no matter where you are.

    [This message has been edited by Mezzaluna (edited 11-03-2000).]
     
  3. isa

    isa

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    Mezzaluna,


    You are absolutely right. Even the food chains in France will have good cheese, bread and pastries. Also the quality of the canned good is a lot superior to what we have here. Just think of the cassoulet, confit. Or canned froie gras they are all very good.


    What I really loved in France is how every arrondissement, village or city have their own out door market at least once a week. How fun is it to just visit the boucher, boulanger, crémier to get all the food you need. A experience that is a lot more enjoyable then pushing a cart through those huge grocery store we now have.


    Lets not forget how they eat. They have two or three hours for lunch. Enough time to have a good meal and go take a nap. And dinner is a important meal. At home, most often they have two courses and more often three and four.


    There is a little gourmet shop in town that stock lots of canned food from France. Sometimes if I am in the area I'll just stop and go look at what they offer and dream of all I could eat….


    I wonder how the food is in Italy...


    Sisi
     
  4. momoreg

    momoreg

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    I stayed in Italy for 2 weeks, and after arriving back home, I started making arrangements to go back. I soon returned for a 6 month stay! Boy did I gain weight. By far, the Italians are at the top of the list for me.

    Bottom of the list... I have to agree with Sisi, is Morocco. I did enjoy eating in fine restaurants in Morocco, but they don't practice sanitation at all, it seems.

    Funny story (at least NOW it's funny): My husband and I went to Morocco for our honeymoon last year, and on our last day, our guide wanted to treat us to a traditional Berber tagine. We had been walking around Taroudant all afternoon, past butcher shops (with flies swarming on the meat). I had asked the guide one day whether they actually SELL the meat that's been hanging in the sun all day, and he said yes, but it's refrigerated at the end of the day. So we stop off for bread on our way to the restaurant, and the bread guy handed our guide a flatbread with FILTHY bare hands. We got to the restaurant, and the waiter wiped off our table with a nasty dirty rag, and our guide threw the bread down on the table. Then he ripped it apart, and handed us each a piece. Our tagine came, and we didn't want to insult anyone, but we had been in the bathroom for 12 days straight, basically. We kinda knew that this was going to send us over the edge. This was his big sendoff meal for us, and we HAD to eat it!!! What a tough situation!

    I tried to make my husband eat my share. Hahah!

    Good topic.
     
  5. isa

    isa

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    Momoreg,


    Did you encounter the many carpet vendors while in Morocco? We couldn't move five feet before someone wanted to sell us carpets or other local craft. I think this is a country that one should visit after they retired. That way they won't be pester by the drugs vendors. Kids as young as six or seven carrying dope in a condom. And all those people who wanted to be your guide. Only to rip you off.


    One thing I'll never forget was our trip in the Rif mountains. The Let's Go Europe suggested we stay there instead of in Tangier. Big mistake. It is not a place for paranoiac people. At the end of the end everyone we encountered knew what we had done, where we ate and which hotel we were staying in.

    Sisi
     
  6. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Wow, drugs in condoms... I didn't see that. I did see a lot of kids selling cigarettes on the street, and that was sad. My husband found our guide through a travel agency. He helped us out in more ways than I know. Especially in the souks, where people were constantly trying to rip us off. We did end up buying a couple of Berber rugs in Fes, from a reputable vendor. I know what you mean about everyone trying to sell rugs (or pottery, or leather, you name it) By the end of the trip, I felt like a walking dollar sign. We also read that Tangier was kinda run down, and not worth going to. We stayed in Fes, Marrakech, the high Atlas mountains, and Taroudant. I'm so glad we went, but it was good to come home, too. By the way, I have never used a guide before, and probably wouldn't in most cases, but in a country like Morocco, we were able to see so much more in 12 days than we ever would have! He was great, and I would recommend him, if any of you are going there.
     
  7. isa

    isa

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    Momoreg,


    We did hire a guide in one of the city, forget which one. He really wasn't much help. All he wanted was to take us shopping. Guides get a percentage of what you spend in certain stores.


    Don't get me wrong I had a good time. But if I go back it will be when I older to avoid all the drugs sellers and all those non official guides.


    In the Let's Go Europe they said not to hire a guide off the street. In Casablanca we hired a little boy, figure he couldn't hurt us. Wrong. He was nice and helpful but when it was time to takes us out of the casba. He took us out through another door. Very few peoples there. A bunch of older guys were waiting for us. You get the figure. In the end it cost us 20$ but I kept my camera.


    Sisi
     
  8. momoreg

    momoreg

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    It's a shame those kids don't get to be kids over there. At least you didn't lose more than you did.