People ask me all the time what I miss the most about Germany. And my answer is the food and the cheap groceries. I have talked to Germans who are also new in Charleston and we share the same pain… After the first few weeks in America, there is one special thing every German will miss…. BREAD! Real bread! It has been almost a year ago since I have moved from Germany to America. I had enough time to research for those things. I want to share with you what I found out so you do not have to search too.
1. Good Bread
The first time in the bread aisle at Walmart I just wanted to cry. The bread here is soft like a pillow. Publix or Harris Teeter is the place to get bread. They have a bakery where they sell sweets, bagels, and bread. It is still not really comparable to German bakeries but it’s a good solution. Pumpernickel bread is sold by World Market and Whole Foods. Sometimes you can find good sourdough bread at the farmers market. My husband and I have started to learn baking bread. Unfortunately, it is not that easy because of the limited variety of flour.
You won’t find quark in American supermarkets. The closest thing I found is called Greek Yogurt and it sold almost in everywhere.
3. Good chocolate
Found at Aldi in the fall and wintertime. (For non-Germans who are asking themselves “what the heck are Spätzle?” -> German Egg Noodles. You should try it!)
5. Sparkling Water
On a hot summer day ( you will have those a lot here :)) it is nice to have a cold Apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water.) I assume it is not common to drink the sparkling water here. We always buy Perrier. You can find it almost everywhere but not at Aldi.
6. Strong Coffee
I miss the variety of coffee a lot. I love coffee! Can not live without. Everyone who knows me would confirm.. You will see a lot of Keurig coffee makers. The cubs are sold at every supermarket. There is just one size of cubs. If you have a filter coffee maker and I would recommend buying Jacobs Kroeung on Amazon. I just found it there a few weeks ago In the past, my awesome friends in Germany send me a package once in a while.
7. Fresh Yeas
Nowhere ! 😦 Everyone who likes baking (from scratch) will spend a lot of time looking for fresh yeast. I did not find it anywhere. I have talked to a lot of people and some even do not know what I am talking about. Supermarkets only sell dry yeast. Maybe it is sold in big cities. The topic baking deserves a separate blog post… 😉
I almost did a happy dance in the store when I found Knoppers! And again Aldi saved my life. I wonder if its half past 9 in the American commercial. If there is an American commercial.
9. German Jelly
You can find it on the shelf for international products at Publix.
10. Bratwurst (German Sausages)
Surprise surprise! Bratwurst is also sold at Aldi. But sadly not throughout the whole year. In general, Aldi sells more traditional German products (Spekulatius, Lebkuchen, Marzipan!) in the winter time.
Germans in Germany, please take a moment to be thankful that you can buy all of this every time and everywhere! You have no idea what you would miss while living abroad. Also, grocery store shopping is a whole different shopping experience in America. Supermarket employees are mostly very nice and ask you if you find everything OK. If you are looking for a particular item they sometimes even walk with you to the shelf. At the checkout, everything is very relaxed. No one really gets in a hurry. (Aldi is an exception, they cashiers are almost as fast as ours) Be prepared for ‘Did you find everything OK today’? or a compliment about your shoes/Jacket etc. It sounds funny but I am still not very smooth in those situations but I am getting better! (I am still a coconut). In Germany, I always was used to be ‘ready for the fight’ at the checkout. It seemed like cashiers have a race against their customers. My American husband was very overwhelmed with the situation at supermarkets in Germany. No talking, no eye contact the stuff just piled up in front of him because he was not fast enough putting the items in the shopping cart. It is a positive change for me. Grocery shopping is not a fight anymore it is almost relaxing!
Saving Tip! –> A lot of supermarkets have discount cards which allow you to shop much cheaper. (e.g buy one get one free) BiLo = Plenti Card, Harris Teeter = VIC Card. Aldi or Walmart are cheap even without those cards.