I always think it’s neat to check out local grocery stores when I’m traveling, especially if it’s abroad. It’s intriguing to see what’s on the shelves, how it’s presented, how much items cost, and so forth.
As I mentioned before, the first month in Norway was like an extended vacation. However by the second month, I found myself missing previously must-have grocery items such as cheese sticks and Auntie Mae’s macaroni.
Nevertheless, it was a fun challenge to try to find other foods that my kids would love as much. This is why I spent a ton of time at the grocery store, which was an adventure within itself.
I gotta say, the best part of grocery shopping in Norway is the bread slicer. Yes, they have sliced bread here, but it seems that only losers buy it. The Norwegian bread section is vast and mostly consists of hearty, fresh-baked bread. You pick out your loaf and put it in the bread slicing machine. The machine works its magic and you have to carefully get the newly sliced loaf in a plastic bag that’s near the bread slicer and then you slip that bag of bread back into its original paper bag. The plastic one keeps the slices from tumbling out of the paper bag.
It’s stupid, but every time I use the slicer, part of me wants to do a happy dance. I really get a kick out of it. (Side note: I have to get this off my chest. I’m trying desperately hard not to use the “better than sliced bread” cliche or any bread-related puns.)
Other grocery store tidbits:
- I discovered that Heinz Co. makes even more sauces than I thought possible. Other than the ketchup and barbecue sauce, the shelves here are lined with other varieties such as Heinz garlic sauce, aioli and even curry mango. No, I haven’t yet tried them.
- Nearly all the vegetables are wrapped in plastic. Bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, parsnips, all wrapped in cellophane. Considering how green and healthy people are here, I find that very odd.
- Driscoll’s berries are just as common here as they are in the states. Logan loves all berries, blue, black, raspberries, strawberries, everything. I was so stoked (and stunned) when I spotted the Driscoll’s brand all the way over here. Granted, here you have to eat them within a day or so of purchasing them because they get moldy. After accidentally buying moldy berries, I now stridently inspect them before buying.
- You have to bag your own groceries. Norwegians are very self-sufficient and extremely practical. Why would you pay someone to bag your groceries when you can do it yourself? I figure if I ever need a job back in the states, at least I’ve now got experience as a bagger.
Have you guys been to grocery stores in countries other than your own? Did anything surprise you?