In Denmark, we pay 25% VAT (value added tax) on everything we buy. German VAT is only 19%. So with the German border less than 2 hours away by car, it’s quite common for people to drive over the border to shop. The Germans have hospitably built a huge shopping center just for this purpose!
Yesterday, I was able to borrow a car, so I grabbed a couple of friends and headed to Flensburg. I have power inverters for my high ticket appliances like my food processor, blender, hand mixer, etc., so I was hoping to pick up a toaster, vacuum cleaner, electric kettle, lamps, and a deep fryer for falafel, but one of the above mentioned friends is moving back to the US, and he’s offered to sell me some of his small electrics on the super cheap.
So, I bought the deep fryer and spent most of the afternoon wandering around the most American store I’ve yet to encounter on this side of the pond. In Denmark, our choices are limited to a few varieties of each thing, we just do not have a whole aisle dedicated to condiments, another dedicated to cereal, etc. But this German store was huge, like bigger than Costco with tons of variety!
Here’s a photo of yesterday’s combined haul…
I was ecstatic to find ricotta! It’s difficult to find in Denmark, comes in tiny 250 g containers, and costs a small fortune. In Germany, it still comes in 25o g containers (about 8 oz.), but at least they’re only 1.25 Euro (about $1.50) apiece. One of the first meals I’m going to make in my new kitchen is manicotti, Caesar salad, and garlic bread!
I also found dill pickles, which do not exist in Denmark. The closest thing we have here are cornichons. How times change, I remember once running around town trying in vain to find cornichons for a particular recipe and ultimately substituting dill pickles. The jar is huge, 2400 grams (about 5 lbs.), and I’m not sure how I’m going to fit it into my tiny Euro refrigerator, but if there’s a will, there’s a way!
And finally, 5 kilos of brown rice!!! I have 40 lbs of brown rice coming in my shipping container, but there’s no telling when that’s going to show up and since I’ll have my kitchen as of next Friday, I need my brown rice! Brown rice is difficult to find in Denmark, and when I do find it, it’s very expensive, think wild rice in the US :(
All in all, the Germans didn’t disappoint, but I sure wish they had tempeh. It’s impossible to find tempeh here, and that makes me sad :(