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Green groceries in Germany?

husbandman's picture

I know nothing about groceries in Europe.

I have a friend from Brazil. She says one of her Brazilian friends goes to Germany on business regularly. He takes friends there bottles of cachaca and a dry powder lime drink mix. He says they don't have limes in German grocery stores and that other produce is limited.

A little round about, but she swears he's the sort of guy who would tell it as straight as he knew it.

Anyone have any experience in shopping for groceries in Germany?

I'm just curious.

ashleyd's picture

(post #37783, reply #1 of 21)

Before Assibams arrives with the full story, I didn't find my choices in German stores limited. In the old East Germany they certainly used to have problems, but nowadays their range of produce is as good as any in Europe.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

husbandman's picture

(post #37783, reply #2 of 21)

The story of extremely limited fresh fruit seemed unlikely, that's why I was curious.

assibams's picture

(post #37783, reply #3 of 21)

Before 1990 (when East Germany and West Germany were reunited) the East was communist/socialist and only had limited access to exotic fruits and vegetables. Especially bananas were scarce, so whenever Westerners visited family in the East they brought bananas. Maybe said friend's experience is from that time?


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soupereasy's picture

(post #37783, reply #4 of 21)

Was it only 1990? Amazing. Seems as though it should be decades.

Jean's picture

(post #37783, reply #5 of 21)

In another year it will be 2 decades. :)



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soupereasy's picture

(post #37783, reply #6 of 21)

Thanks, I needed to hear that I was aging that quickly!;)

unbaked's picture

(post #37783, reply #8 of 21)

Stop reminding us, lol. 1990 was just a couple of years ago :P

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

husbandman's picture

(post #37783, reply #7 of 21)

Thanks for your response.

BonnieinHolland's picture

(post #37783, reply #9 of 21)

I live right across the border from Germany.  There are different sizes of grocery stores - some are huge, some large, some extremely small.  The larger stores have a full range of produce, including limes.  cheers, Bonnie

husbandman's picture

(post #37783, reply #11 of 21)

Thanks for your response.

It was hard for me to believe that such things were not available in Europe!

Maedl's picture

(post #37783, reply #10 of 21)

I live in southern Bavaria and don't find the selection of produce to be limited. If you go to discount chains like Aldi or Norma, the produce is rather pitiful. The regular grocery stores have an adequate selection, and we have a regional grocer that offers an extremely good selection. The small green grocers have an excellent variety. In addition, almost every town has a weekly market with a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables that are a bit cheaper than what you'd find in a green grocer.

I am particularly fond of a lot of Italian vegetables, like cima di rapa and fava beans. While you most likely can't just walk into the green grocer and buy these, they will go out of their way to get them from the wholesale market in Munich. I can usually have them within a day or two of my initial request.

In my memory, I think the big change (for the better) in the German diet came with the advent of the European Union. I was in Munich as a student in 1971-1972 and the vegetables available in winter were pretty much root vegetables. Salads always consisted of mounds of grated carrots, kohlrabi, cabbage, red beets and potato salad. Ever so often you used to get some green leaves of Mache or Boston lettuce, but never in a large quantity. When the custom barriers disappeared between Germany and southern Europe--Greece, Italy, Spain--and then Turkey and Israel, the available of fruit and vegetables improved immensely.

I have written a blog entry that you might find interesting. You can look at it at http://alpsandbay.blogspot.com/2008/06/gathering-daily-food.html And you can check back in a week or two--I'm working on a new entry about Munich's Viktualienmarkt. It will be photo-intensive and give an excellent idea of what's available.

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
husbandman's picture

(post #37783, reply #13 of 21)

I read your blog post. Very interesting!

While I've never been to Europe, my mother's family was from Bavaria and my father's family from the corner of Germany near Denmark and the Baltic. I have some extra interest due to family lineage.

What you describe is somewhat like where I live in rural southern Colorado. The only store in the town of about 4,000 where we live is a Safeway. The produce is generally old and of poor quality with a few seasonal exceptions. They do have limes. <G> We travel about 50 miles away to get descent produce and about 100 miles away to get fresh fish and more from a Whole Foods market. We've only made the trip to Whole Foods twice this year.

Due to the dry nature of the area we live in only small irrigated areas are able to grow anything that humans eat, with the exception of pinon pine nuts. We do drive to buy from summer farmer's markets in an irrigated area near the city of Pueblo.

Fortunately (DW and I think), we grow big gardens, eat the freshest food as much as we can, freeze and can for winter, and eat wild game meat all year. If we didn't grow our own food the availability of produce would be dismal.

Joe

Maedl's picture

(post #37783, reply #16 of 21)

I'd say our choices in fruit and vegetables are much better than what you get in small western towns in the US--and I have a fairly good idea of what is available out there. Almost everyone has a garden here--and even though we are in the mountains, people are able to produce a good portion of what goes on the table. Plus, we have lots of cows, goats and sheep, so that means great dairy products, and good meat too! Let's just say that I am not losing weight here!

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Maedl's picture

(post #37783, reply #17 of 21)

I've forgotten to say this in my last two posts. The other big change that I've noticed in German food over the last 35 years is the increase in fast food and use of prepared foods. When you shop at a grocery store and watch what people are buying, it's almost always predominently prepared stuff. All the big chain fast food restaurants are here too, and they have brought along the increase in waistlines.

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
roz's picture

(post #37783, reply #18 of 21)

Margie, you're right on the prepared food issue and increased waistlines. If we shop from the outside aisles of the groceries, produce, dairy and meat, we'd all be better off.

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Maedl's picture

(post #37783, reply #19 of 21)

I try my best to do that--I only venture into the aisles if I need something for baking, perhaps flour or sugar. Actually, with farmers markets, I find that I don't go to grocery stores very much--just to keep up my milk supply. And when I'm in Germany, I could buy the milk at a dairy, but they only have full fat milk and since I use so much, I think that would be overdoing it!

Are you back in Ireland, Roz, or are you still in the US?

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
roz's picture

(post #37783, reply #20 of 21)

Back in Ireland, where the weather is gray and a shocking 18C! And windy!

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Maedl's picture

(post #37783, reply #21 of 21)

We finally have decent weather here--about 29 degrees C. here today, and the sun was actually hot! But we have had more than our share of rain--including a rain which came down harder than anything I've seen before. And the temperature fell to about 8 or 9 degrees one evening two or so weeks ago.

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
SallyBR1's picture

(post #37783, reply #12 of 21)

oh,my... that lime powder stuff is nasty!

Only in the worst case scenario a Brazilian will resort to that! :-)

 


 


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(May 29th, 2009)

 


 


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husbandman's picture

(post #37783, reply #14 of 21)

It is terrible stuff!

Some of what my friend brings here from Brazil seems to me to be more a reflection of her desire to feel more at home in the US than it is a reflection of her normally fine tastes and excellent cooking.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #37783, reply #15 of 21)

Oh, I totally understand. As her about "pao de queijo", little cheese breads... every Brazilian sheds a few tears thinking about them, so we tend to go there and buy many bags of the "pao de queijo-mix".

it is nothing compared to the "real" thing, but... it's good enough. In fact, many Brazilians buy them to cook at home.

 


 


American Citizen, with a tropical twist...


(May 29th, 2009)

 


 


http://bewitchingkitchen.wordpress.com