We are #blessed with a new, fancy grocery store called Casino. There is a second nice grocery store, called Park n Shop. They have similar items. I’m not sure which one I prefer. Let’s take a tour of Casino, shall we?
The cheese area is special. They have all the cheese. Each of the photos below is of a different section of the cheese area. It’s the largest cheese area I’ve ever seen at a grocery store. The French influence is very obvious here with the cheeses and bakeries. Casino also has its own bakery, and the breads and pastries are quite good.
The cheddar fermier in the above photo is 32,690 CFA/kilo, or about $25/pound. Do you know what cheddar fermier is? Maybe aged?
I haven’t tried the gouda au cumin or the truffle cheese yet, but they look delicious.
They have a small section of already-cut cheeses, but it’s just as simple to ask the cheesemonger to cut cheese for you from the block. My french is still abysmal, so our conversations go something like this:
Me: Bonjour! *pointing* That cheddar, sil vous plait!
Cheesemonger: Something in French, what I assume to be “how much do you want?”
Me: *hand gesture indicating about two inches’ worth* This much?
Cheesemonger: *laughs at me, gets knife, and measures out an appropriate amount of cheese*
Me: Oui! Parfait! (end of transaction)
They have several cases of deli/cured meats. This is a selection of pre-cut, but, like the cheese, most people opt to have the butcher cut the meat fresh.
Here we see part of the meat section. On the right is local quail, on the left is various sheep parts.
The fish section is ok. There is a new butcher and fish monger in town, and they have beautiful fish and very nice meats. We buy most of our meat there.
Entire aisle of French wines: red, white, rose, sparkling, boxed. Park n Shop has South Africa and Chilean wines. I think I may prefer Park n Shop over Casino simply for the availability of South African wines.
Beer and liquor.
Lots of Heineken. They have some nice Belgian beer, but it’s expensive. There is also local beer, which is affordable and tastes fine. We plan to take a tour of the brewery in the near future, it sounds like a fun excursion.
They have an aisle of organic foods (“bio”). It’s expensive.
They have a wonderful selection of personal/bath products, including some nice imported soaps from Europe.
American Cola, taste the difference. I haven’t tasted it, but it’s cheap! 250 CFA is 43 cents.
They have Heinz ketchup. A small bottle is about $6.
Pamplemousse rose is pink grapefruit. I really like saying “Pamplemousse.”
The only cheese sticks they have in this country are emmental. They are delicious.
Most of the fruits and veggies are imported from Europe. There are local fruits and veggies, but not many are sold at the big grocery stores. Today all Casino had were local avocados:
There are outdoor markets that sell fruits and vegetables. I’ve started asking our nanny, Gratie, to go to the outdoor markets for me. She manages to find beautiful fruits and vegetables, and gets much better prices than I do. This week, she bought watermelon, pineapple, papaya, tomatoes, and carrots. enough to last a week, for about $9.
I feel pretty lucky to have such great markets here. Not pictured above is an asian food section (which also has salsa and enchilada sauce), fresh pizza dough, fresh pie crust dough, an enormous frozen section with ice cream, bags of berries (great for smoothies!), as well as an enormous yogurt section, a home goods area with nice kitchen equipment, and a juice aisle, where you can find almost any kind of juice you could ever want. My favorite juice is passionfruit.
It seems each week we find different things stocked, and some days we find staples not stocked. Today, there was no creamy peanut butter, only crunchy. And the crunch peanut butter was Skippy brand, and about $13. This week, though, they started stocking tortilla chips. Casino-brand tortilla chips, that are only $1.50! It’s the first time some of our expat friends have seen tortilla chips for sale here.
We do also have Amazon Pantry deliveries every few weeks. I order stuff that we either can’t get, or is too expensive here to buy. Our first shipment was mostly healthy snacks (nuts, granola, trail mix), chips, black beans, and refried beans. I haven’t seen black beans anywhere!