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Dec 10, 2006 06:43 PM

Puetro Vallarta grocery shopping recommendations?

I'm making my first trip to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) this month and have seen the helpful restaurant recommendations in recent threads. Now I'm looking for some help at the grocery store! I'm interested in both things to buy & consume there as well as (food-related, of course) things to bring back as gifts (and to stock my own kitchen!)

As far as things to eat there, I'm open to pretty much anything--we'll have a kitchen. I'm specifically interested in recs. for baked goods and dairy products but if there is interesting produce/meat/fish I might miss (as opposed to the limes, avocados, etc. that I'm already dreaming about!) please let me know.

Things I have in mind to bring back:
citrus juicers (I have one for limes that I use constantly!)
beverages (alcoholic and non)

I'm interested in any specific favorites folks might have and also any other general categories I should be considering. I'll be sure to check the customs info before I go!

Also, I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so my local grocery stores have pretty extensive Mexican food aisles. I'm looking for items that aren't readily available in the states.


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  1. They have a big Supermarket there-I forget the name-ask--spices you can get at the main market-

    2 Replies
    1. re: marlie202

      Thanks--I have a pretty good idea of *where* I'm going to shop, I just was hoping for some specific things to look for.

      1. re: mizinformation

        when you are walking up and down the aisles--just keep your eyes open and see what is there-have fun

    2. vanilla

      Make sure its good quality from Papantla, Veracruz. You might want to buy vanilla beans as well (very cheap).


      Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas & Puebla are the prime growing spots


      Careful with tamarind.... lead poisoning (some farmers throw in lead balls to get more weight... thus greater $... and they get ground up with the paste)

      beverages (alcoholic and non)

      Freixenet (Sparkling wine from Queretaro)
      Monte Xanic, Santo Tomas etc., (good Mexican wines)
      Tres Coronas (inexpensive sherry for cocktails & desserts)
      Pulque (Agave wine... as oppossed to distilled Tequila)

      You can also find decent Mexican Brandy & all types of Liquer from the familiar Kahlua to Cacoa & all types of exotic fruits.

      Also, a nod to Pineapple or Mango vinegar (the only alternatives in the U.S. are imports from Italy that run about $30 for a 10 ounce bottle)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        thanks, this is exactly the type of info I'm looking for.
        marlie, thanks to you too--I'm definitly planning to do some exploring, but I don't speak a lot of Spanish so I'm afraid I'll miss some good stuff if I don't get some advice!

        anyone have a rec for baked goods? I often find the stuff in our local panaderia looks better than it tastes....

        1. re: mizinformation

          No problem... check this link out, it might give you ideas for worthwile products to bring back. However, I have to warn you that Mexico is a country of marked regional differences in food & culture. In addition, if you compare to the U.S. (where everything is documented & promoted)... Mexico is a country in which you have to work hard to find / learn things... so don't expect to find Yucatecan honeywines in a PV market etc.,

          As an example.... one time in Baja, I skipped the markets in Enseneda figuring I would get better prices on wine at the megalomarkets in Playas de Tijuana.... I got there & they basically only had French & Spanish wines... the young woman heading the department was fairly knowledgeable about these... but I was floored when she said something like Baja California makes wine?

      2. I was walking along and found a small store that had a special spice/herb blend for birria. It was great but I don't know if it's so much different than what you could get in a Diana Kennedy book. But it's from the region and it was fun to bring back.