Our Turkish grocer is particularly good. He's from Istanbul, "nearly Greek", as he says himself, speaks several languages, a former history teacher and revolutionary who was encouraged by the authorities to leave Turkey for greener pastures. He's now a petty capitalist with a nice house, but there's still a bust of Lenin in the living room. Our kids are in the same Kindergarten.
At his store, Matvärlden, i.e. "Food World", we get a lot of affordable exotic foodstuffs in really funky packaging from unusual places. European Turkdom maintains its own distribution channels, so a lot of interesting stuff comes to us from the southeast. Not just Near Eastern food, but German and Polish as well. For instance, I recently discovered Berner Würstchen from Wolf GmbH in Schwandorf. They're extremely succulent sausages with built-in Emmenthaler cheese, and, get this, they're wrapped in bacon when you buy them. Eat one, swoon, and fill that week's need for protein and saturated fats at one go. Spitzenqualität!
Another cool product is sour-cherry jam from the Dashte Morghab Food Industrial Group in Iran. Sweet, slightly tart and aromatic, the cherries still very berry-like and sometimes with pips. The Dashte Morghab Group also boast that they supply 50% of the Iranian market’s tomato paste. "We freeze, squeeze, pickle & preserve them for you." Awesome.
I could go on. How often, for instance, do you see cassava or dried kelp from Chile, both looking a lot like firewood, in your grocery store? Five-litre glass jars of Polish pickles? They've got great mutton too, from Gotland -- our southerners take mutton very seriously. And eating Gotlandic mutton chops helps to keep the kind of sites I wrote my thesis about free of undergrowth.
The only disappointment I've had with the Turkish store is their cookies. I must have tried twenty varieties of cookies from obscure Greek and Turkish factories, and they all suck. But if I move a bit up the price scale, they have some serious baklawa and kataifi...
[More blog entries about food, cooking, Germany, Iran, Turkey; matlagning, mat, Iran, Tyskland, Turkiet.]