Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Supermarket

Mike was kind enough to spend some of his afternoon break walking through my local Μαρινόπουλος supermarket with me. He picked me up at my place on his scooter (first scooter ride since I've been here!) and we drove to Kastelli. We're still experiencing some really nice weather so it was a nice mode of transportation, and it meant that I didn't have to navigate the heavy traffic in town in my car, which I've already done once today, on my way back from my Greek lesson.

I've had some difficulty translating the labels on certain items, and often have no idea what the hell I'm buying. The olive oil aisle has been particularly enigmatic for me, as I assumed that somewhere on the label there was an indication of whether it was virgin, extra virgin, whatever. Turns out that isn't so, that the labels indicate nothing of the kind, and Mike said you just use the same olive oil for everything (cooking, salad dressing, etc.). He did show me which kind NOT to buy, which is the stuff made from the pits of the olives versus the flesh. Check. He also helped me understand the laundry aisle, which is filled with row upon row of liquid stuff. I assumed that some of it was detergent and some of it fabric softener, but it turns out that the one whole wall is softener. I've been buying correctly, but just by luck. I also took note of the beer section today, which I usually bypass on my way to the wine section. They've got a relatively decent selection of Belgian and German beers, so I picked up two Erdinger Weibbier, a Bavarian wheat beer, which I've never tried and which I'm hoping will be a nice change from the Mythos that has become my standard.


Olive Oyl said...

Hi Kyrstyn, been watching over you from the far south of the island! Interesting to see everything through a newcomers eyes, you seem to be doing fine! EXCEPT with the olive oil! Crete, probably, has the best oil in the world so I implore you to find a friendly Greek neighbour and ask them if you can buy some of their oil (I would be suprised if they didn't happily fill an old water bottle for you). If it is not labeled in the supermarkets I can only assume it is because it is pretty nasty bland oil, even those bottles that are designated Virgin, I suspect, will be nasty, and at very least heat processed thus destroying lots of the flavour and nutrients. It's like drinking a glass of Blue Nun when you could be drinking a vintage bourdeaux.

On the subject of beer....our everyday beer is Vergina (ΒΕΡΓΙΝΑ) cheep as chips and in all the supermarkets, clean and light. Shout up if you ever get lost

Kyrstyn said...

Hi Olive Oyl, thanks for your comments! I will definitely have to try some of the local olive oil...I've been buying the brand Minerva, which is fine but it will be nice to diversify. Thanks also for the heads up on the beer. I don't think I've noticed it around here, but it's probably because I didn't know to look for it:-) Where abouts in the south are you? Oh...and very good analogy with the Blue Nun/vintage bordeaux!

Olive Oyl said...

We're in Iraklio, in the Asterousia mountains. The places that people know nearest to here are Phestos; Matala and Agia Galini. All very different to Hania (hotter, browner,less trees!). On an entirely different note......if you go to Paleochora again you must go to The Third Eye restaurant, only veggie place in Crete, international menu, yum

Kyrstyn said...

Oh, thanks for the restaurant recommendation! I'm actually planning a short trip there in August w/ my friend and we'll definitely visit Third Eye!