Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Supermarket Sweep

The foreign foods sections of supermarkets - to me, a place of wonderment. A place where you can procure weird and wonderful ingredients from across the world and learn about the food habits of other cultures. At home in England, I'm always drawn to the Thai and Indian food sections - with ingredients I've never heard of let alone attempted to prepare. I've always wondered if natives of these exotic lands would think of these shelves as an accurate representation of their homeland, of the flavours, comforts and memories associated with their cuisine.

The answer to this question, which had never been more than a fleeting thought in Sainsbury's, hit me in the most unusual of places: in the Carrefour Superstore in Camas, Seville, when I was faced with the 'English' shelves in their foreign foods section.

It is interesting when you are faced with the things that someone in a supermarket HQ has deemed representative of your country. I have to say I was fairly impressed. I think we English people are a fairly simple race, and we're easily pleased (proved by how much I squealed when I saw the comida inglesa sign).
Things that are representative of English food according to Carrefour:
Kettle chips
Cider (Bulmers, Magners and Strongbow) - good show!
Various Jams
Various kinds of chocolate chip cookie
Short bread
Fig rolls
Tea time biscuit selection
Porridge oats (unfortunately not Ready Brek)
Breakfast cereals (including Weetos and Alpen, but not Cornflakes or Weetabix)
John West Tinned Tuna and Salmon
Tetley Tea
Sunpat Peanut Butter
Bisto Gravy
Branston Pickle
Baked Beans (both Branston and Heinz)
Heinz Salad Cream
Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup
Heinz Hot Sauce (3 varieties)
Jacobs crackers

Think that pretty much sums us up doesn't it?? Apart from the addition of a full on Roast, Pie or Fish Chips and Mushy Peas, I thought they did pretty well.

 I couldn't help picking up a few treats from my supermarket sweep:
1. Branston Pickle: I had a real craving for a cheese and pickle sandwich even before I left the UK. I made one to take as a little packed lunch on my Easy Jet flight over and left it in the car. Devastated is not even the world. As soon as I saw it there on the shelf, I knew I had to have it! The most expensive of the purchases, it set me back €2.10
2. Jacob's Fig Rolls: Not everyone's favourite biscuit but I have serious food jealousy issues when my boyfriend admitted he'd bought and consumed and entire packet one day last week. Pricey, pricey, compared to the own brand ones you can find at home, at €1.76
3. Strongbow Cider: I go to uni in the West Country - Cider is pretty much a food group there buts not something you see regularly outside of the UK. It was the cheapest of the 3 ciders on offer, and the cheapest purchase I made at €1.27.

Worth it? Most definitely!

Elsewhere in the supermarket, I also found many delights (of the Sunny variety) that are no longer on sale in the UK. That is what childhood memories are made of:

I even managed to pick up an old favourite from my time in Mallorca, Sobrasada (a spicy meat spread).
Though not a patch on the homemade, farm fresh originals I used to get on the Island, it made a nice Spanish breakfast alongside some jamon and tomatoes!

Do you think Carrefour got it right? What products would you add to their shelves?

1 comment

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