y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: Nine Fun Foods You'll Find in an Irish Supermarket

Nine Fun Foods You'll Find in an Irish Supermarket

Almost a year ago I read and devoured author/blogger/pastry chef David Lebovitz's blog post on 10 Goofy Foods You'll Find in a French Supermarket.

While his beautifully written, witty, well-photographed posts always inspire me, this one hit the spot because when travelling I love to visit supermarkets to get a feel for the local tastes.

My cousin lived in Paris for roughly two decades and during my visits there I always made a point to check out a couple of open air markets and supermarkets, with Auchan being my favorite of the latter. I've spent hours there poring through the packaged foods, produce and prepared specialty items.

During a vacation in Ireland a couple of years ago, I tried to escape the pouring rain for a few minutes by stepping into a Tesco supermarket in Dublin. Fresh and Easy, with which we are more familiar within the U.S, is a subsidiary of Tesco.

Much like the U.K., Indian food is quite popular in Ireland. This Chapati Flour caught my eye. chapatis, or Indian flatbreads, are made with wheat flour.

This package probably contained wheat flour, but it was marketed as "chapati flour" simply because it had a recipe on the package suggesting to add cumin seeds, coriander leaves (cilantro) and fresh garlic.

They show some branding ingenuity making a common household pantry ingredient a single purpose item. In my house growing up, my mother only added salt and oil to the chapati dough, but one cannot go wrong with fresh herbs and spices I suppose.

In our local stores we find unusual and 'limited edition' flavors of chips. Just when you think you've seen it all, I found Chili Heatwave flavor Doritos as well as Walkers Prawn Cocktail and Worcester Sauce chips, which they call "crisps".

Walker's also created flavors like Blue Cheese, Pickled Onion and Roast Chicken.

These Irish bread loaves look like dinner rolls in the photo, but these loafs spanned about 10" wide and maybe 4" high. They were piled high with bags next to them.

I like the idea of seeing and smelling the bread before choosing a loaf. The contrast of the white bread with dark crust and the rounded shape looked inviting.

The packaged desserts section left no doubt I was in an Irish supermarket. Fresh custard, bread and butter pudding, sticky toffee pudding, fruit trifle, rhubarb crumble, brambley apple pie and banoffee pie are among the offerings. Not exactly your garden variety Sara Lee frozen pound cakes and strawberry cheesecakes.

The dairy in Ireland satisfies at a whole other level than most places. The descriptors for the milk such as Fresh Milk and Slim Milk sound more appealing than referring to it as 2% or Nonfat as we do in the U.S. The variety of sizes also seems convenient, with the mini bottles on the lower right of the photo above.

KerryGold Irish Creamery Butter can be found quite easily at upscale grocery stores locally.It appeared to be the brand of choice at Tesco and the clean, foil packaging helps it stand out.The golden stack of butter was flanked by many other varieties and choices. Butter vs. margarine dominated, though.

The variety of canned peas amused me - mushy, marrowfat and even "processed", with a sign saying "love fresh food" (?) Peas clearly serve as a staple in Irish cooking.

I've only seen one type of cocktail onions at the market before. On these shelves one gets a choice of hot and spicy, strong, sweet, traditional, pickled. Whatever suits your mood in terms of pickled mini onions, it's probably there.

The sweets leaned more on the exotic side with "Turkish promise", wine gummies and other sophisticated flavors. I don't know whether the Cadbury Roses really look like roses, but enjoyed the packaging with bright colors and planning.

I bought a knit hat from the market in order to stay warm in the rain during my mile long walk back to the hotel, along with a few small kitchen gadgets and small souvenir gifts.

At the checkout I noticed their adorable shopping bags made of burlap with the Tesco logo and ladybugs embroidered on it.It was just over 1€ (Euro) and it's something I still regularly use.

The cashier was quite amused that I was taking it back to California. If only she knew about the photos I took all over the market!

5 Responses to “Nine Fun Foods You'll Find in an Irish Supermarket”:

  1. Anonymous says:

    I love this! Wandering through a supermarket is one of my favorite things to do in an unfamiliar country. Mushy peas! What in the world ARE they? And chapati flour is just regular wheat flour? I'd always assumed it was some special grind or type of wheat.

    If you have pix of supermarkets in other countries too, I'd love to see them.


  2. Steve says:

    After living in Tipperary for two months a few years ago my take away from Irish supermarkets was the lack of variety in fresh produce. I didn't think we had an overtly diverse diet at home but so many of the staples we took for granted just weren't available. Even the packaging we saw was odd. You couldn't buy a green pepper but you could buy a package with a green, red and yellow pepper.
    On the up side getting hooked on things like Soda bread or Gammon then not being able to get them back home may have been even harder to deal with. I need to book a trip back soon. Thanks for the flash back trip through a Tesco supermarket.

  3. Hello Diane. Another thing I like to do in other countries is read their McDonald's menu and spot the regional additions to the core items.

    I will search for the French supermarket photos, which may be in print photo or slide format that needs to get scanned.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Hi Steve,Your comments did remind me that I didn't really notice the produce in this Tesco, nor was it compelling to photograph. There are definitely trade offs shopping in different parts of the world. Thanks for pointing it out!

  5. Chelsea says:

    Do you still have the tesco bag, and if so can I buy it off you? Name your price? Thank you!

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