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Apr 24, 2011 05:09 PM

Does anyone else do their vacation souvenir shopping at local grocery stores?

Whenever DH an I travel by car, we like to stop in at local grocery stores for snacks, etc. and just to see what differs from our area. We bring a big cooler, and at the end of our trip, we stop back in at the supermarket and buy local products-jams. jellies, syrups, regional beers, etc.) to bring home for souvenirs and gifts. I ask at the store if they have a section w/ local products and when I tell the clerk what I am looking for, they are usually very happy to help me and recommend their favorites. A bonus-prices less tha half than at the gift shops.

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  1. DH and I do the same... I love to shop at the local markets and bring back things I can't get at home. On our last trip to Montreal, I stocked up on coffee filters of all things, so every morning when I make coffee I am reminded of the day I bought them.
    And yes, so many things are cheaper when bought at the grocery/drug stores than at the gift shops! And as a bonus, those places are usually filled with locals, not other tourists.

    6 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      What's unique about Canadian coffee filters?

      1. re: bbqboy

        Bilingual French/English packaging.

          1. re: roxlet

            I wanted to get myself a souvenir that I would actually use, and the packaging was such a pretty green color and full of fancy French words. They work exactly the same as the coffee filters I can get at A&P, but the ones from A&P don't remind me of the long walk I took to the market while drinking hot cocoa and nibbling on a fresh croissant, and of practicing my limited French at the SAQ.

            Don't worry, DH bought me a necklace and two blouses on our trip!

              1. re: wekick

                Same here, and since I'm Canadian (living in the US) I love to have bilingual-labeled products in the house for sentimental reasons. Context is all.

    2. Of course. Doesn't everyone? Just brought back some delicious grits from South Carolina. That was the only souvenir we bought during our 4 day trip to Charleston. And yet, we spent lots of money eating very, very well.

      1. For me it's the local Costco.

        2 Replies
        1. re: monku

          yeah... But grocery stores work well too!
          I got carribean cokacola, Export Sodas... lotta yummy treats.

          1. re: Chowrin

            yeah....But if isn't quite right or I have buyers remorse I can return it to my local Costco.

        2. i always do.
          never will forget my first trip to paris, where i was delighted to find fleur de sel in the grocery store, for about 1/3 the price as i'd seen it in the gourmet shops. same packaging, same stuff. i grabbed a dozen. when the checkout girl gave me a funny look, i explained that they were "jolie cadeaux"--little gifts. boy, then she REALLY gave me a look! a look that said "you are the worst friend EVER!!!" friends loved them, and i have always tried to squeeze in a trip to the grocery store since, when traveling.

          9 Replies
          1. re: chez cherie

            Silly checkout girl! Must not be a chowhound. I love when my friends bring me tea, spices, oils, coffees etc. from their travels.

            1. re: iluvcookies

              not silly checkout girl -- girl who doesn't realize how godawful expensive that stuff is in the US.

              I've explained the price when I got funny looks -- and they first look shocked, then the light dawns on them that it's a good gift.

            2. re: chez cherie

              did the same on one of my trips to paris - brought back a beautiful rose petal jelly from Fauchon, which i ate by little 1/16 teaspoonfuls, to make it last and last, and also non-food products so that I'd have toothpaste with French writing on it, and in Croatia, contact lens cleaner. Makes the trip last a little longer... I'm about to go to Bolivia (family there) and i'm going to pack light so i can bring back a whole slew of things. my sister just got back and she had no problems at all getting thru customs. i know it's a crap shoot.....

              1. re: mariacarmen

                in Paris I was a sucker for sugar cubes wrapped with the appellation "Cafe Richard" (my given name) on one side and "Daddy Sugar" on the other.

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  You must have extraordinary self-discipline. We rented an apartment in Paris for a week one summer, bought that rose petal jelly from Fauchon (along with some pates de fruits) and ate them all up before we left. Oh, and there was some chocolate, too, I think.
                  "I'm pretty sure you can't take opened jam on the plane."
                  "No, definitely not. Grab a spoon."

                  1. re: Isolda

                    ahahaa! wasn't it just extraordinary? yeah, no, i'm not disciplined at all - just wanted to have that in my fridge for a long time - and i'm not embarrassed to say i did - for probably a good 3 years. (ok, i'm embarrassed.) i'm not a huge sweets person, so it wasn't that difficult. but every single time i took that teensy bit and let it melt on my tongue, aaaaaaaaaahhhh Paris alive in my mouth. But believe me, there were other things that did not even make the plane ride home.

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      Next time there, given your predilections, have the raspberry and rose sorbet at Berthillon, sweet magic in your mouth.

                      I always come home with as much chocolate as possible and at least one cookbook from France, cookbooks and Biluochun tea from China, cookbooks, Red Rose tea - hello again fondly-remembered emballage bilingue - and old cheddar cheese (aged 5 yrs and up, favourite is 7-yr-old) from Canada, and bath products from wherever.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        We've talked about this before! For me, it was the Berthillon cassis sorbet - like juicy tart garnets.....

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          Sour cherry...they're all wonderful in their own way. The rose is really special with the raspberry.

              2. when ever we go to orlando/disneyworld..we usually hit the walmart at eastgate...
                they have a large disney section with t-shirts and mostly the same stuff at the disney shops for half or a third of the price..our 3 yo doesnt know the difference between a walmart disney tshirt (for 5 or 6) or a disney one for 25....
                and yes when we are traveling to other areas i do like to hit the local grocery stores...
                like wegmans when we were in new york...or harris teeter when we were in NC

                but i dont bring a lot of things back...unless it is something that i cant find at home..