My International Grocery Cart
May 29, 2014
It seems like every time I visit somewhere new I come home with at least a few more ingredients or foods that I enjoyed but can’t get at home. On my recent trip to Puerto Rico it was plantains. They were everywhere in San Juan: tostones, mofongo, or as a simple sweet side dish. Occasionally I will find a few in the grocery store at home but it’s rare. After visiting Korea I went looking for kimchi and pickled radish. From Costa Rica, Salsa Lizano. For many people food is a big part of why they travel, what they do when they travel and what they reminisce about once they come home. I asked some of my fellow bloggers what ingredients they discovered on their travels that they wish they had easy access to at home.
I'd love to add two Australia favorites Chandon Sparkling Shiraz (often called Christmas in a bottle) and Tim Tam chocolate biscuits/cookies. Both are only available in Australia. As for why add them? Who doesn't love wine and chocolate?
I used to live in Germany, and I can't understand why no Australian has figured out they should import "Mohrenkopf" treats! They are a kind of wafer cookies with a very soft, squishy meringue/marshmallow mix on top and covered in chocolate, and although I have come across imitations in various places around the world, nothing beats the real German version. My husband's family taught me to freeze them and eat them which is even one step better. I crave them regularly.
Having lived in a few countries I've got several things on my wish list (although these days things are easier with either cheap shipping or stores opening up across the globe). These are the things I always try and buy when visiting the relevant countries:
- Balsamic Vinegar from Modena (not the horrid supermarket ones but the proper ones)
- Haig's chocolate from Sydney
- Darrel Lea licorice from Australia
- Stilton cheese from England
- There's more but I'd be pushing the boundaries of practicality ;)
Mangoes - I love my mangoes and I prepare them as smoothies or use it as an ingredient for cooking. I can't find good mangoes here in Germany or Europe in general. I wish I could have those mangoes from the Philippines: yellow, sweet and velvety.
Anyone who has been to Italy knows how incredible the food is and also how difficult it is to replicate those dishes at home. But one ingredient I miss more than most is Bomba Calabrese. It's a blend of eggplant, mushroom, hot chilli and olive oil and is delicious spread on bruschetta or mixed through pasta. I've seen it once or twice in my home town in Australia but it's usually hard to come by.
I love Colman's Classic Mint Sauce available in the US and Ireland. I'm not a fan of mint sauce with lamb. but this tart, dark green ambrosia, made with British mint, is different from sickeningly sweet mint jelly usually encountered. I buy a jar for use when we're in Ireland and bring an unopened jar home with me well-wrapped in layers of clothing.
Rambutan & Mangosteen - I love the taste of them so much that I don't even mind to peel them (something I'm often too lazy for). Okay, Rambutan I can get occasionally in Australia, but never as good and juicy as in SE Asia.
How about you? What are the foods that you long for once you get home from a trip? Do you stuff your suitcase full of spices, sauces and sweets?