aaronmartz.com and annamartz.com

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Another Victim of (Possibly) False Advertising

Grocery shopping is quite the experience here. There is a big grocery store that is part of a chain where we shop twice a week. I'm not used to the layout yet. Aaron and I find that we forget things a lot and have to go all the way back around the store to find its aisle. There isn't a big selection of beauty and bath products - that's what die Apotheke is for. It's a lot like it is in the UK - most medicines are behind the counter, so you need to stand in line and, in my case, collect enough German words to form a coherent question.

Every modern grocery store staple you can think of can be found in Switzerland. There are certain things that aren't here - mostly certain brands of toiletries that I prefer, but it's nothing a trip to the commissary in Germany can't solve.

Meat is another thing that is in abundance and high of quality, but it is expensive. Holy cow, Batman. Ten US dollars a pound for boneless skinless chicken breast? No thanks. It's a shame, really - I was looking forward to eating a lot of veal and lamb here since it's higher quality here than it is in the US. We're going to have to invest in a cooler so that we can stock up on meat on our commissary trips. Now I see why the Embassy furnishes all families with a deep freezer.

One thing I can't find is sauerkraut in a can. Yes, I know it's German and not Swiss, but Aaron and I eat a German meal once a week and like to have it as a side. In the US, sauerkraut was usually located in the canned foods aisle next to the other vegetables. Here, I guess people are more likely to buy fresh vegetables - and why not? There are markets in the center of town every morning that supply fresh staples. The canned fruit and vegetable aisle at the Coop we frequent is hilariously small. Rotkohl and rösti are available in vacuum-sealed bags, but no sauerkraut. I searched all over three different stores, but my search came up empty. I find it hard to believe that people make their own here; there's plenty of Swiss rösti that's ready-made. I may have to ask someone during our next trip.

Another thing I can't find is the St. Ives line of beauty products. My mother used to have these around when I was a kid. They were reasonably priced compared to some other brands like Neutrogena. I'm a fan of the St. Ives Medicated Apricot Scrub and the St. Ives Energizing Citrus Body Wash. Since it's always been advertised as using "Swiss beauty secrets" and being created in their labs in Geneva, I thought I'd be able to find lots of it here. I haven't seen it yet. I feel like I've been lied to my whole life. Is it a Swiss product or not? It seems silly to wait for a commissary trip to buy this stuff since there are plenty of other alternatives, but I was disappointed that I didn't find the fabled fountain of Swiss youth that all the commercials in the US showed me.

Oh, and there are no Clinique retailers in Switzerland. That makes me sad. How can I perform my daily ritual now?


  • At 2:04 AM , Anonymous sister-in-law said...

    So what's the best way for me and other blog fans to contact you now?

  • At 7:13 AM , Blogger Anna Martz said...

    E-mail or posting on this blog is best for now since we probably won't be getting mobiles for a while. We'll have a home number that we can give you later (not here, of course, but over e-mail) in case you ever feel like spending tons of money on a phone call. :)

  • At 8:56 PM , Blogger Becca said...

    The myth of Swiss products is ever present. I made Nestle tollhouse cookies and brought them to work and all my Swiss collegues kept coming in and exclaiming "These are unbelievable! Where'd you get the recipe?" when I said "Nestle!" they were in disbelief that it was the Swiss company...

  • At 5:02 PM , Anonymous John Everman said...

    Ah, sauerkraut! I just stumbled on your blog and had to offer the old two cents. The canned stuff is rather hideous, compared to fresh. First, located your nearest Aldi's (www.aldi.com). Odds are they have fresh sauerkraut in bags, in the refrigerated case. No? Try the refrigerated section of your grocer, and also try the deli.

    It's also pretty easy to make your own sauerkraut: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_1505,00.html

    And, have you made a pilgrimage to the sauerkraut festival in Strasbourg? It's in August, if memory serves. (The sauerkraut is almost sweet, and is cooked in the wonderful white wine of the region. The festival celebrates the wonders of rotten cabbage.) Which brings up the final helper: Sauerkraut in French is choucroute. Check those canned goods again. :)


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