Miss Ginsu: About/Bio

 

Grocery Store Tourism

This may seem a bit strange, but one of my very favorite overseas travel activities isn't visiting the museums or galleries (though they're very nice, of course)... it's touring local grocery stores and food shops.

I like to see how the average person lives. In Italy, for example, your average shopper has access to powerful traceability and sourcing information.

Behold! Egg coding!

Italian Egg Coding

The eggshells come with printed sets of numbers. The packaging includes the key to translating the numbers.

What do you find in that code? Everything about where that egg came from, including the state, province, municipality and farm where it was produced, the breed of the chicken and of course, the date on which the hen produced the egg.

Pretty cool, no? One glance at the eggshell, and you know just where it came from, what kind of chicken made it and how fresh it is.

Similarly, when I visited both Italy and France, I noticed that the produce is all labeled with the country and/or region of origin... even at the farmers' markets.

Farmers' market labeling

The second reason I enjoy checking out other peoples' groceries: they have things we don't.

While looking in rural France (Les Eyzies) for food that would work well on the grill, we were delighted to find an upgrade on the traditional canned campsite "pork 'n beans" duo. This canned duck confit and lentils heated up just fine on the grill and made couple of très magnifique dinners.

The same shop also had shelf-stable jars of duck rillettes (essentially a fatty duck spread), which tasted amazing when spread across a fresh baguette.

Can of Lentils & Duck Confit

And finally, there's the joy of discovering cool packaging logos and graphic design. You'll find some of my recent favorites, below:

Goat's Milk Yogurt
An adorable goat's milk yogurt label from Trento, Italy

Devilish Rotisserie Chicken Bag
A devilish rotisserie chicken bag from Toulouse, France

Devilish Rotisserie Chicken Bag
A charming nut sack from Berlin, Germany

Corleggy Cheese Label
A lovely little cheese label from Belturbet, Ireland

I know I can't be alone in my tendency toward grocery store tourism. Anyone have foreign food discoveries to report? Let me know in the comments or link me over to your adventures.

Cheers!
Miss Ginsu

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10.18.2009

2 Comments:

Blogger Stella said...

In the UK there's a popular spread called "clotted cream." While the name suggests a slasher flick to Americans, the product is like a cross between custard and taffy, a rich sweet almost buttery substance. You don't realize till you peruse someone else's food market just how many brand names and products you take for granted!

10/21/2009  
Anonymous Rona Maynard said...

Miss Ginsu, we're two of a kind. I'm amazed that more people haven't chimed in to share their grocery-cart discoveries and disappointments. Multicultural Toronto, where I live, is a grocery shopper's delight, with a huge array of specialty products for various ethnic cuisines. Sarasota, where I'm spending this month, is a grocery wasteland where I can't even find a decent bagel. I recently blogged about this at my own site, where quite a few curious eaters have posted comments. Oh, by the way...in the Dordogne, did you notice all the foie gras signs by the side of the road?

1/22/2010  

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