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#45927 - 08/04/00 07:05 PM Food/Grocery Shopping
Storm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/18/00
Posts: 4
Loc: Washington, DC, USA
I'm going to Salamanca in August, actually in a little over a week from now. Yayyy!!! I'll be on a slim budget, and I've decided that I'll try to cook some in order to cut costs. Does anyone know anything about foodshopping in Spain? Is it mostly farmer's markets? Or do they have supermarkets? Any websites where I can research this?

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#45928 - 08/04/00 07:20 PM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, New York
Will you be at a place WHERE you can cook? In Salamanca, there are a few small supermarkets, but most people do the shop-to-shop thing. Bread shop, veggie/fruit shop, etc. Salamanca is compact and you'
ll find lots of places to shop. You can always buy bread, chorizo , cheese etc and have wonderful bocadillos!

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#45929 - 08/05/00 12:56 AM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Hi Storm. Nope. There are absolutely NO supermarkets in Spain. In fact, the farmers come into the city each day to sell their food and if you don't buy by the time they leave at around noon you'll have to go hungry until the next day. I'm pulling your leg. OF COURSE Spain has grocery stores! I think the first grocery stores did come about relatively recently though (maybe 25-30 years ago.

Other than the Spain-wide El Corte Inglés stores which combine food shopping with department store shopping in many cases, many LARGE all-in-one superstores like Alcampo & Continente have popped up outside of many major Spain cities including Madrid. I visited these two for the first time last year. It was sad, really. This huge tract of real estate had the fast-food places, multiplex cinemas, and specialty shops. It was SO ANTI-Spain in my mind. I felt like I was back in the USA.

[Continente and Pryca has merged together to become a new supermarket called "Carrefour".]

[Most supermarkets in Spain are French: Carrefour, Alcampo, Dia, Champion... The cheapest one in Spain is Dia. Although their products don't have very good quality, they also sell well known brands at very low prices]

But if you're in any city or town, including Salamanca, you'll most likely do your shopping either at the meat, vegetable/fruit, bread specialty shops or one of the many, small-ish grocery stores around that have just 4-5 ailes of food and beverages and 2-3 check-out lanes. Don't worry. You'll have NO problem finding food to buy. But as rgf asked, will you have some place to cook all this great, Spanish food??

Saludos, MadridMan

[This message has been edited by Antonio (edited 08-05-2000).]

[This message has been edited by MadridMan (edited 08-08-2000).]
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#45930 - 08/05/00 05:41 AM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1739
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
Hey, MadridMan: Pryca is still in business. Maybe Carrefour (a French Conglomerate) is taking it over but it is still operating as Pryca in Madrid and Leganes. It's the large supermarket chain where our relatives do much of their shopping.

And when you go to the other type of market, they don't generally have numbers (like the deli's here in the USA), but they do have an orderly system of 'who's next.' You don't want to violate that system. Usually, when you get to the vendor's 'stall,' you ask who is last and when the next person arrives and asks the same, you can tell them that you are. Then you proceed in that order until "Quien le toca?" is you.

[This message has been edited by Eddie (edited 08-05-2000).]

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#45931 - 08/05/00 08:47 AM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, New York
Ha, that is SO SPANISH! Quien era el ultimo? A quien le toca? As opposed to the huge outside-town hipermercados, as they are called. I hate them, too! Funny story: in the small town I spend many summers in, in Galicia, they always asked me in GALLEGO, whose turn it was, in the small shops. I leared to say EU and not YO, and asked for a caixa de leite instead of a caja de leche! fun. rgf

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#45932 - 08/05/00 09:00 AM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Eddie/rgf, I LOVE THIS SYSTEM! And sadly, BECAUSE so many people are leaving their barrios (and their individual specialty markets; for bread, veggies/fruits, meats, etc.) for these SUPERstores on the outskirts of town. What a terrible shame! The same thing will happen there as has happened in most US cities (except for New York City), that all these speicalty markets will no longer get the customers and eventually close down, creating a kind of ghost-town in the neighborhoods, women/people will no longer make their daily/morning walks with bags to these shops, no longer stop for a coffee and the neighborhood café, people eventually move out of the city center to the suburbs, everyone will need cars, you no longer know your neighbors, traffic gets worse and people become alienated from one another. It's all such a terrible shame that these huge comglomerate shopping centers exist outside of town.

At least (I believe) Dia (the very small supermarkets found in most neighborhoods in Madrid) are IN the neighborhoods, occupying little space, understandably carrying fewer brands, prices are a little higher, BUT COME ON!! It's IN your neighborhood and you can get everything you need right there and you don't have to take 1-hour out of your day to drive outside of town for shopping just to save a few pesetas. WHEW! Enough for now. I could go on and on. .... okay, one more paragraph:

Isn't it much better to walk into one of those long-ish, narrow doorways to a little shop that sells only snacks, or nuts, or sweetrolls, or flowers? You walk in, the clerk (and likely the owner) says hello and kindly assists you with your choice and purchase. Then, you go on your way, taking only moments out of your day. You can do this whenever you need something in your neighborhood, you get to interact a little with people you don't know, AND you've helped a hardworking store-owner continue his successful business and maintain the well-being of his family. Come on! This is YOUR neighborhood (or someone's). Isn't it important to keep the neighborhoods alive? If not your's then someone else's?? At least there's no chance the neighborhood bars will close down for lack of customers (unless they all move to the suburbs).

Saludos, MadridMan

[This message has been edited by MadridMan (edited 08-05-2000).]
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#45933 - 08/05/00 10:18 AM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 786
Loc: New York, New York
Right on Madridman!!! it's what makes Spain Spain!!

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#45934 - 08/05/00 11:05 AM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
Antonio Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/07/00
Posts: 1252
Loc: Madrid (Spain)
Eddie,

I didn't mean Pryca wasn't in business now. Pryca and Continente has merged and they keep their supermarkets under a unique name "Carrefour". In fact, Carrefour is the French company who owns Pryca. There used to be supermarkets in Spain called "Carrefour" a long time ago. For some reason, in Spain they have different commercial names. Let's take "Alcampo". The "original" one is French and it is called "Au Champ" (which has nothing to do with the Spanish translation).

To avoid Carrefour from becoming a monopoly, the government has forced them to get rid of some of their branches. But I think they will be a monopoly anyway.

You can read about the new Carrafour name at http://www.continente.es/dosier/comunicado.html

I would like to say that I totally agree with Madridman. I hate this kind of big supermarkets because they pay very low prices to the producers since supermarkets have a big power.

BTW, I don't understand why people keep on buying things on those places. Apart from their great offers, the rest of their products are more expensive than in any other small shops. I take advantage of them and I only go there to buy their special offers.

Regards,

Antonio

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#45935 - 08/05/00 12:56 PM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 516
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Ok, Ok. You are all right about the grocery stores. But I'm going to stick up for the hipermercados - at least a little!

Way back when La Vaguada was new, and I lived in the Barrio del Pilar, Alcampo had the BEST croissants in the barrio. People made long lives in the store when the time to take them out of the oven came (you could tell by the smell)! It was super convenient, and you could always go down to the far end of the centro comercial to the lovely mercado and get fresh food from stalls. (Hey guys, doesn't it ever bother you that people always ask "¿La última, por favor?" How about "¿El último?" Sorry - I'll get back on track.)

Later I became very attached to the Prycas, especially the one in Las Rozas. I could find everything there. I loved it when they had customer service representatives roll through the store on roller blades. Hey, Spain moves with the times!!

The real problem is not the stores, it's the fact that life is changing in Spain. I believe the single greatest factor in the change is that women are working outside of the home. How can you go to the market, which is without a doubt the best place to buy fresh food, in the morning, and prepare a three course hot meal for the family by 1:00 or 2:00, and hold a paying job? It's impossible. I know - I was in that position. So they do their best on weekends. And the hipermercados are a great help. Why, there are even businesses now in the suburbs that deliver every type of frozen food imaginable to your doorstep. It's sad, but as long as all the adults in a home are out working, homemade meals, and the type of daily shopping that goes with them, are going to disappear.

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#45936 - 08/05/00 01:40 PM Re: Food/Grocery Shopping
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 10011
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
Hi Diana! I think you've posed some excellent points. Still, it's sad to see Spain change, to become more homogenized with the rest of the world, including the USA. Now you mainly only see old women or the few remaining housewives going to the neighborhood stores.

I too remember seeing clerks on roller blades in Alcampo. It was an amazing sight.

And Diana, it doesn't bother me at all to be asked "¿La última, por favor?" Just a sign of history in my mind. It IS funny to be looked over by all the old women when they turn to see who's behind them and they find this tall, white man standing there.

Saludos, MadridMan
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