|The aisles never seem to end!|
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to go to the local markets to find the great things that aren't sold at home. Even local grocery stores can be a great spot for gifts to bring back for friends and family as long as it's not perishable. But that's traveling when you have unlimited amounts of time to wander aimlessly.
|Boroughs Market in London|
What's not so fun is when you are living abroad and you have just worked a very long day, and all you want is some taste of home. Armed with your google translate on your phone (if it's working), you go to the store hoping to find something that resembles a familiar meat or anything really that could be thrown together in a reasonable amount of time. Let's face it, shopping for food takes exponentially longer when you are away from home. The peanut butter is never the same, and you won't easily find Kraft mac and cheese. But you adapt. You find new things that you like and can't live without like that Old Amsterdam cheese I came to adore.
|My personal cheese man, Fred|
I quickly realized how spoiled I had been living abroad. Sure it was hard to find the specific brands I was used to, but nothing beats having a cheese man in Amsterdam who I knew on a first name basis. I missed trolling the endless open air markets in the various places I had been. I missed the Saturday market where I would buy a bag full of produce for under 10 euros.
So my little nugget of information here is that I advise you to seek out your local farmers' markets and specialty shops. They may cost a little bit more money, but you are getting a better product (most of the time) and you are helping local businesses stay afloat. It's easy to go visit the big guys because they have everything, but what they are missing is that human connection you get when you visit a vendor who grew the tomatoes himself or helped to harvest the honey and knows the backstory of the bees.
|Market in Cuzco, Peru|