The Very Best Thing about Summer Holidays…

Hols

There are lots of lovely things about going on holiday.

For starters, there’s the foreign food – we’re in France this week, courtesy of Keycamp, so there’s been beacoup de baguette, brie and red wine. Quite delicious.

And there’s weather. We’ve been blessed with hot, sunny weather all week, which means our holiday has basically been spent either on the beach, or in the swimming pool. Perfect.

But the best thing about holidays? The very, very best thing?

Foreign supermarkets.

Come on, it can’t be just me.

I love, love, love foreign supermarkets. I love seeing completely random products that I just know will be brilliant before I even taste them. I love heading off to Hyper-U or Carrefour, and filling up a trolley with random things.

Like little tubs containing tiny frozen balls of Coca-Cola. Genius.

Or Milka chocolate bars, complete with tiny shards of Daim Bar inside. And hot-dogs called Knacks (c’mon, there’s never a bad time for a good snigger at a comedy product name).

Then there’s those things that are just so random you have to buy them – there’s a thing here called ‘sauce du pizza’ (fortunately, I’m fluent in French so was able to decipher the meaning of the name). It’s a squeezy bottle, like a ketchup bottle, but contains tomato puree with oregano and garlic, so you can squirt it straight into a pizza base. What’s not to love about that?

My favourite discovery this trip, though, wasn’t food or drink. It was this trolley, in the local Hyper-U.

Trolley
Brilliant. In Tesco, we bribe our children into little plastic cars, which we then get to push around the supermarket as well as all our shopping. "Come on darling, have a little ride in the brum-brum car. It will be fun!"

Not so in France. Here, it’s all, “You’re old enough to walk so I think it’s about time you stopped idling around and pushed your own shopping, mon amie.

Flea absolutely loved it. And – happily – one of those little suckers holds a whole week's worth of shopping for one adult and one child. I’m thinking of starting a petition and getting our local Tesco to invest in a few of them.  

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

29 Comments

  1. Sue
    2nd September 2011 / 8:34 pm

    You must be deprived where you live… in my local supermarket we used to have children’s shopping trolleys when I was growing up and it has a variety of different milka bars, daim included 🙂 Check Asda! Though sadly no frozen coca-cola balls 🙁

  2. 2nd September 2011 / 8:39 pm

    They have those little trolleys in my local village Londis. They are brilliant. Except when little kids run over an adults ankles, then pure embarrassment. and explaining. and apologizing. Not that *I* would know…

  3. 2nd September 2011 / 8:55 pm

    I love supermarkets abroad! The best thing about going on holiday – definitely.
    Do they still sell Pschitt in France? Always good for a laugh.

  4. 2nd September 2011 / 9:01 pm

    Oh yes – I love this, too. When I used to go on exchange trips to France in my school years my friends thought I was nuts for wanting to browse supermarket aisles!
    Must buys: laughing cow with french packaging, cheese(cheese and more cheese), Pez and cordial syrups that come in large metal bottles (grenadine is my fav).

  5. 2nd September 2011 / 9:04 pm

    Well, without the frozen balls, I’m not sure it’s worth the journey…

  6. 2nd September 2011 / 9:05 pm

    Of course not. That’s just the sort of thing that could theoretically happen, right?

  7. 2nd September 2011 / 9:06 pm

    Oh yes, we bought two things of the syrup – cassis (great for cocktails) and strawberry. And two packets of Haribo that are DIFFERENT to UK haribo. We are so exotic, it’s frightening.

  8. Sarah
    2nd September 2011 / 9:09 pm

    We went to Carentoir in France last September and the local Hyper-U had those little trolleys! Amazing, my daughter loved feeling as though she could join in with the shopping. Do they still have the ones with the big tall flags on though..? (In case you lose them, which, *ahem* I would know nothing about!)

  9. 2nd September 2011 / 9:46 pm

    I also love foreign supermarkets and my husband thinks I’m mad! Glad to see I’m not the only one with a passion for browsing the shelves when I’m away.

  10. Nikki
    2nd September 2011 / 9:47 pm

    What site did you go to Sally? Any good?
    PS Where do you shop? Those little trolleys are everywhere nowadays but never enough of them to go round! 🙂

  11. 2nd September 2011 / 10:07 pm

    When I was growing up our local Spar had those little trolleys, and I LOVED them! I particularly love the way they have a pole on one side with a little flag on, this is presumably so that you can see your little darling through the huge crowds when you get separated and they’re doing a runner with your week’s shopping!

  12. 2nd September 2011 / 10:17 pm

    Oh yes foreign shopping is worth the trip!!!… Loved exploring all the shops in Greece there really is a “SPAR” wherever you are!!! Never found a supermarket in Italy, just a cheese shop, a bread shop, a milk shop, a vegetable store, a fruit store, a pasta shop, even a broom store… get the picture!!!. After six weeks of island hopping we arrived in Rome and for obvious reason decided to try and buy deodorant. Well I had a half course in Italian and we had learnt how to buy a bus ticket and order pizza off a menu. But the course never covered deodorant… after endless asking, begging, groveling and many looks like: “You want what?” Finally one very old Roman offered me a tiny bottle of perfume that magically appeared from the depths of his counter… thirty bazillion million trillion lire later… about $45 dollars later we decided we smelt just fine thank you very much!!!
    And we have those trollies at a supermarket here… I try to avoid it like the plague. Great for one kid but can you imagine a trail of eight kids… I look like “Make way for ducklings” on wheels!!!
    Have a great weekend you guys!!!

  13. Tattie weasle
    2nd September 2011 / 11:28 pm

    Ok my family and I must be really sad we had trip to the local Carrefour as a day out. Grandparents, grandchildren and me- it was great!

  14. 2nd September 2011 / 11:45 pm

    Ooh, come and visit me. We have those little trolleys (called ‘carts’). I was told the reason they had a flag on a pole was because people were loading them into their cars and taking them home, and the pole makes that difficult, even in the big SUVs.

  15. 3rd September 2011 / 7:11 am

    Yup me too – love foreign supermarkets. When I come to England the first thisng I do (after a real cheese and pickle sandwich) is visit Sainsburys to see the 105 different flavours of crisps and the biscuits and cakes made with real butter (everything here is non-dairy so people can serve them after meat). My treat is ready-made sandwich from M&S. Btw – in Holland we had to buy the syrup-filled wafers (on wafer contains a day’s worth of calories) and in the Czech Rep. it was all the different breads. P.S. we also have pizza flavoured ketchup. Enjoy your holiday!

  16. 3rd September 2011 / 8:53 am

    Yes, tall flag definitely still in place!

  17. 3rd September 2011 / 8:53 am

    I honestly love it more than is rational.

  18. 3rd September 2011 / 8:54 am

    We’re at Le Littoral and it’s lovely – I’ll do a full review after we get home.

  19. 3rd September 2011 / 8:54 am

    Yes, Flea got a bit over-confident after a while…

  20. 3rd September 2011 / 8:55 am

    Oh we found a lovely supermarket in Lake Garda. See? This is how sad I am – remembering supermarkets around the world. But you’re quite right, I often find myself in European towns thinking, well, where DO people buy their… [insert common household item here]

  21. 3rd September 2011 / 8:55 am

    Ha! You’re a woman after my own heart, Tattie Weasle.

  22. 3rd September 2011 / 8:56 am

    I too love french supermarkets – and the miniature shopping trolleys are genius – betty loved them too – although tears at the checkout when she didn’t get to keep the random stuff she had pulled off the shelves – i did let her keep the mens socks and the clothes pegs as a compromise 🙂

  23. 3rd September 2011 / 8:56 am

    Ah, that makes sense! Here, the check-out ladies got very fierce if it looked like Flea wasn’t leaving her trolley on the store-side of the checkout.

  24. 3rd September 2011 / 8:57 am

    Thanks – it is weird how many more crisp flavours we have compared to other countries, isn’t it?

  25. 3rd September 2011 / 8:57 am

    Well, you always need pegs, don’t you?

  26. Katrina Copsey
    4th September 2011 / 3:36 am

    Just a short time ago, when i was a child (smug young person face) they had those small trolleys in the supermarket at sherwood forest center parcs (french). I liked this very much, but was forbidden from placing items in mine (sad, scarred as a child face)
    My favourite thing about Carrefour in tunisia were the cockroaches and flies which lived a free and happy existence, unharrassed by any Rentokil-lke first world company, in the fruit and veg section.
    My second favourite thing was the way the men of Tunis found their way around the supermarket so efficiently. If they found my trolley in their path, they simply shunted it repeatedly into my body or out of the aisle.
    I did like the fact that the store runners wore roller blades. One would think that this may be hazardous to small children. In Tunisia, I found they have overcome this problem by not allowing their wives to leave the house frequently, thus allowing the children to stay in the safety of their own home.

  27. 4th September 2011 / 2:32 pm

    exotic supermarkets… ah, yes, hong kong island has plenty of those. but so far i have not been able to bring myself to spend 15 quid on 8 strawberries.
    i shop here, on the outlying island. here is all we need! our delightful frontier shops – each the size of a lock up garage with some old farmers sitting on the steps selling saucepans and beansprouts – purvey every item you can imagine! plastic u-bends, durex, gin, dead dog, fish skin, air rifle pellets and noodles. what more could you want for the perfect night in?

  28. 6th September 2011 / 1:39 pm

    Waitrose have those around us – seemed like a good idea to give the 3 year old one…. oh dear…

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