Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Choices, Choices... But This Many? - Isles of Bounty

Whenever I visit Hungary (that is every summer), going to a large supermarket is always an experience.  We think we have large stores in the United States (hello Costco), well, we have nothing on little Hungary (and other European nations: I have been to similar sized food meccas in France or Italy too).  

Though the size of these establishments are impressive already, they still can compare to some of our U.S. giants (Wal-Mart, anyone?). What simply blows my mind is the coices of food that Hungarian supermarkets carry.  Whereas in my local Safeway, or Whole Foods Market in  Kailua, Hawaii, there may be five different brands of  sour cream to chose from, Auchan in Budaors, Hungary, has an entire isle of it. I can't even guess the number of brands.  It would take me three hours just to look at each.
The sour cream isle. Crazy, isn't it?

Looking for salami? Sliced or whole, you can find it here.
Hungarian salami is quite possibly the best in the world.
The sausage isle: not the same as the salami isle. Just the same size.

Yoghurt galore
Butter and margarine- as far as the eye can see
I find this bounty somewhat intimidating. Hungarians, however, navigate the isles with ease, picking out their favorite brands from the hundreds of choices. I tend to linger, undecided, or just amazed at the amount of cheese a store can carry (three isles worth, plus a gourmet counter). There is even more wine, and other drinks.  Two whole isles of carbonated water, with slightly different degrees of fizziness. Ever wonder why I come home from my European summers five pounds heavier?

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