Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Expat's Guide to Shopping in CZ (draft)

As promised I am now going to talk about my experience shopping for cooking in the Czech Republic so far.

Lets start with where to go for grocery shopping.  The first place I went I do not remember the name of and apparently it is very new because it is not on google maps.  By far the most common grocer is Albert.  Albert is a chain of small stores which provide the basic necessities:  bread, dairy, meat/deli, canned goods, sweets, and beer (Pivo).  This is where I go when I just need basic ingredients but don't count on them for baking supplies, or any kind of exotic ingredients; even their selection of canned goods is limited.  You can get frozen pizzas, but other frozen ingredients are non-existent.  Albert is at worst a big convenience store.  The other big grocer I have experience with I found by accident and was impressed by the fact I didn't notice it for its size.  This is Kaufland:  The Wal Mart of Moravia.  Kaufland has a:  deli, bakery, florist, wine store, bank, tobacconist (tobak), and probably other things - and that's even before you get into the main location.  One can find any number of spices, baking supplies, produce, frozen dinners, fresh meats, breads, canned goods, sweets, dairy products, and of course, beer.  The selection is generally wider and also includes non-edibles such as linens, paper goods, cooking/eating implements, gardening supplies, and probably some more.  The important thing I want to get across is the beer.  They have lots of it.  Note:  do not go to Kaufland between 1500 and 1800 - it gets mental in there when everybody is getting off work.

One thing to remember about shopping anywhere in the Czech Republic is to bring your own bag.  They are not free like in the USA.  Many times I have left the dorm without a bag and had to carry my beer in my coat pockets and between my fingers - what will I do when the weather warms up and I don't have coat pockets?

Another thing to note:  bagboys don't exist here, you have to bag your own stuff.  Its inconvenient and a bit stressful as you are forced to re-bag your foodstuffs while managing your payment.  These cash register jockey women (they are exclusively women) don't care, they'll hand you your card or change and begin ringing up the next person while you are frantically trying to get out of the way.

Down to specifics.  The ethnic sauces you find here are more or less ketchup with some different flavors (case in point:  Mexico Sauce).  The Czechs appear to enjoy ketchup as I find it on pizza, on menus with beef (not sure if this is ketchup or if its just  a tomato sauce, I didn't try it), and plenty of fast food.    Mustard is hořčice and most of the varieties are brown mustard or dijon; the kind I bought had horseradish, hence the similar name.  Yellow mustard comes in a yellow bottle, but who likes that crap anyway.

I started this draft a week ago and now I forgot about what I was going to talk about.  I'm anxious so I'm just going to post photos of what some ingredients look like.

Where's the flusher?  It's those ovals.  Little one for a little bit of flush and the
big one just flushes a fixed amount.

"Baking Powder"

"Wholemeal flour"

"Milk - the kind you drink"



Spicy Klobasa Sausage

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