by Carolyn
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We all have favorite products from our countries; the best chocolate, the favorite candy, the one and only traditional dressing, the magic seasoning for everything and so many other things we love and we are used to it. But how about other countries best chocolate and magic seasoning? I have always enjoyed browsing foreign groceries. I remember my first time in the US; I think I spent more time at Whole Foods than at Victoria’s Secret. It was fascinating to discover all the different products, different kind of packaging and all the new taste. Since years I regularly stock up my pantry with foreign super market findings. Today I would like to start the series “how to shop foreign groceries” and to share with you guys what people from different countries keep in stock and what are they craving for during the holidays or in the summer.

We are staring the culinary journey with Olivia and the German grocery, Lehr’s in Noe Valley. Olivia and her husband moved two months ago from Germany and they need some more time to adapt. So we went looking for some German food and found this really super old fashioned, but cool place.

Owned by Brigitte, a very smart and cute older lady, for already 35 years this place hasn’t changed its interior probably since its opening in 1937, but to be honest, that has it’s charm. People and not only Germans are coming from all over the Bay Area and even further to shop for potato dumplings, sauerkraut or weiß wurst ( bavarian sausage). The shop is open 7 days per week and already two weeks ago Brigitte has to re-order more Stollen – traditional German fruit cake – for holidays.

You will find a really huge assortment on traditional products, especially their holiday sweets selection is exceptional. Marzipan potatoes, filled ginger bread cookies, domino stones, spekulatius and so much more. I suggest, give it a try, you won’ be disappointed by German holiday sweets.

We also finally found some vegetable, chicken and beef broth as a powder. It lasts so much longer than the liquid one and it tastes a way more intense. One seasoning, also carried by selected American stores is Maggi Würze, nobody knows its real ingredients and preparation but you won’t find a kitchen without it.

As she loves to cook, Olivia was pretty happy about the jumbo bottle of Maggi Würze and the chocolate advents calendar for her mister.

We also stocked up on baking ingredients you cannot easily find, like the vanilla sugar or lemon and rum flavors from Dr. Oetker. All Dr. Oetker products are know since centuries to be the best quality when it comes to cookies and cakes.

No breakfast without jam, especially the plum jam is great for cake fillings or on a hot french toast.

On December 6th is Nikolaus Day in Germany, the tradition requires that you put a chocolate Santa Claus into the shoes of your lovelies to find it in the morning. Brigitte has stocked up.

We spent like an hour at Lehr’s so let’s have a look at Olivia’s basket…

1. Potato Dumplings – perfect as a side dish for meat and gravy. 2. The famous Maggi Würze – you can use it for like everything. Sauces, dressing, salads, soups, you name it.

3. Weiß Wurst ( Bavarian sausage) – pretzel and mustard are traditional Bavarian breakfast. Not everybody’s preferred breakfast, but her husband will love her. 4. Haribo Bears – they are even well-known at Wallgreens. Some people like to eat only red ones, some only green ones, there is a whole science around these fruity bonbons.

5. Dr.Oetker chocolate pudding – it’s best enjoyed hot on cold winter evenings.

6. Ahoi Brause ( Ahoi Soda) – try this old school instant soda ( different flavors) with a shot of vodka. Every party in Germany starts and ends with ahoi vodka.

7. Small chocolate santa – good as dinner party favors, stocking stuffer or snail mail surprise. 8. Horseradish creme – goes best with smoked salmon, fish and mashed potatoes.

9. Milchreis ( rice pudding ) – we don’t know who invented rice pudding, but for us it feels so German. Some regions have it as breakfast, some as dinner, some as dessert. So it seams to be the right fit always.

10. Rothkohl ( red cabbage) – Olivia cannot live without this wintery side dish. Spice it up with cloves, apples, cinnamon or garlic.

11. Milka chocolate – it’s an German institution since centuries. You will find this milk chocolate in countries all over the world. Olivia’s favorite is the white chocolate. I can assure you, Olivia didn’t had all this food at once, even if she was pretty happy about her buys. Thanks a lot to Olivia for sharing some of her favorite products with us and I hope you guys enjoyed this post and got inspired to try out something new. Leave a comment if you also shop foreign groceries, we would love to know your favorites.

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