Good Food Blog
Holiday food shoppingPosted at 2:32PM, 29 July 2008 by Graeme Allister - Blogger
There's not a lot Nigella and I agree on. We differ on suitable names to give a child , and the definition of an 'express meal' (Homemade ice-cream which takes two hours? Really?). But at last she's said something that makes sense.
Whether it's exploring a foodie emporium like New York's famous Dean and Deluca, or finding a farmers' market, being on holiday offers rich opportunities for food shopping. Maybe it's the unusual ingredients or local produce or maybe just the thrill of being able to shop at leisure, rather than dashing round an enormous supermarket, but shopping abroad just seems so much more pleasurable. No wonder we're then tempted to bring a flavour of that home with us. Do you do the same?
Ices, conserves, dressings, cereals - bought with the intention of re-creating a great holiday meal or trying something new, all too often these languish in kitchen cupboards.
There are obvious purchases such as chocolates from Brussels, cheese from France and meats from Italy. Personally, as well as the fine local foods, I have a weakness for the sweet treats from America. Thankfully Reece's Peanut Butter Cups are available in Britain now but it's more difficult to track down Jelly Bellys.
To the uninitiated, these are gourmet jelly beans which actually taste like the flavours they claim to be. There's 50 flavours, from Toasted Marshmallow to Jalapeno, and best of all each pack comes with 'recipes' 'recipes', suggestions of flavours to combine to create new ones.
Aside from the favourites, there are those impulse purchases, bought in a haze of excitement that only summer holidays can bring. Spices, conserves, dressings, cereals - bought with the intention of re-creating a great holiday meal or trying something new, all too often these languish in kitchen cupboards, as much ignored as those souvenirs that seem somewhat tacky when you get home. Even if you do use your new ingredients, it's unlikely it'll taste anywhere near as good as it did on holiday.
It's also no longer as easy as it was to pick up some local delicacies. With budget airlines charging more and more to carry luggage, it's tempting just to bring hand luggage, especially for those weekends away.
Unfortunately hand baggage restrictions mean that carefully selected local liquor will end up being dumped at the airport unless it's under the all-important 100 mls. Even for those with larger baggage might regret buying that special bottle of olive oil after clumsy airport staff get their hands on your bags.
So perhaps, like holiday romances and revealing swimsuits, those local delights are best left on holiday.