Skip to main content

Grocery Shopping in Germany

Recently Mainz got an Edeka "Scheck-In" grocery store, and it has changed my world. Ever since I started traveling, I've loved exploring local grocery stores. Ideally with someone who knows what's what, but on my own is just fine, too. Now that I know my way around the stores here, it's fun to show visitors some of the little detailed things I've learned about shopping here.

So, back to that new store. It's a lot like a Whole Foods, with way more international specialties, and reasonable prices. Sometimes they even have grocery baggers (!) (I know. Sometimes?!!). Obviously I no longer want to shop anywhere else, but if I have to, I distribute my grocery dollars in the following way...

Aldi -
Taking over the U.S. market, Aldi is a great source for inexpensive (organic) produce, delicious plain greek yogurt, the perfect milk for making cheese (paneer), filled pasta, fresh parmesan cheese, nuts, dark chocolate, frozen veggies, and fun things to look at in the weekly rotating central area. Also, their Mamia diaper brand has proven better than Pampers for us (I know, I know, every baby is different...).

Edeka (Aktiv) -
Another 'branch' of Edeka is the Aktiv market, which has everything I need including a very good fresh cheese & meat counter. I come here for everything I don't get at Aldi - though I've read too many product recalls about the Gut & Guenstig brand to buy anything from there anymore.
Also very kid-friendly - they have all sorts of grocery cart variations to keep kids entertained, and my kids score a ton of free samples when we shop there.

Rewe -
A lot of my friends love Rewe - mostly because they offer grocery delivery AND curbside pickup. I often find the stocks low on what I need, and fewer choices of things like chips, cereals, and yogurt, compared to Edeka. However, it's not at all bad (unless there's an Edeka nearby, clearly they've charmed me more than once).

Penny -
It's so cheap! The quality is similar to Aldi, with a bigger sweets, cheese, and pre-made food selection. Look & feel is similar to Aldi - it's not the kind of store where I want to lazily wander the aisles, but I can get what I need here, at the right price.

Lidl -
Similar to Aldi, but with more familiar brands and a bit higher prices. Also with the fun weekly rotating section of knicknacks in the middle.

Netto -
Great prices and similar to Aldi in produce quality (meaning, your stuff will last no more than a week, vs. Edeka - I can usually get 2 weeks out of my goods there). They usually have a small selection and no fresh meat / cheese counter but this place is great for buying baking supplies as well as bread, cookies, and chips / snacks.

Norma -
Now these are run-down shops. They have great deals, but I have yet to walk into a Norma where I wanted to linger. I usually only pick up stuff from the weekly rotation area, and anything else I'm low on - though I'd rather shop just about anywhere else. Produce is fine, prices are low, it's definitely more of a budget store.

And... last but not least, the Weekly Market -
The best for fresh produce - every city has a Saturday weekly market, and if you check your city website you can find out if there are other days or locations the market operates. Our neighborhood market comes right across the street every Friday (8a-2p) and it's huge! The one produce stand has everything I could imagine needing for the week, plus there are cheese, meat, and fish stands as well.

Apps / Price Comparisons:
There are a number of apps you can use to check prices at each store, as well as check the weekly flyer. Or you can check the Sparpionier app - 2.29 euros for all features, and it includes a barcode scanner. When you're in the shop, you can price-compare right there. The question then is whether you have the time to get the best deals!


Popular posts from this blog

A Visit to the Euro Space Center!

A friend recently moved to Belgium and suggested we meet a little over halfway to his place, at the Euro Space Center in Libin, Belgium. I couldn't tell what to expect from their website, but the good news was kids under 6 were free, and an audio tour was included in the basic entry price. Also, at about 2 hours from Mainz, it met our 'stop for gas and food' requirements.

After 2 enjoyable hours touring the Center, I highly suggest a visit! The audioguide was very engaging. The story focused mostly on the Western history of space travel, with bits of culture and historical context woven in. Somehow, miraculously, the whole tour captured & kept the attention of 3/4 of the kids (ages 2-4)! There was a nice mix of video, audio, and tactical components, and enough space for little people to run around. We found a very light crowd at the time we went - late afternoon.

A couple of school groups had formal tours arranged and got to try some of the interactive simulations, whi…

Lessons...after the NY Bar exam

The number one thing I learned from this bar exam experience is that there is not enough information available about the "exam experience". Why law schools don't offer pertinent information on what to expect is beyond me... but I thought I'd document the few lessons I learned over the past couple of days. I took the NY Bar in Manhattan, at the Jacob Javits Center. It's a good 20-minute walk from Penn Station, so plan travel accordingly. The two days can be exhausting, even though it's broken up into 4, 3-hour segments of exams. Some random notes to know:
There is a coat check. It costs $3 per item. It is horrendously inefficient, so if you can avoid using it, your life will be greatly improved. Note, you can access your bags at no cost (how generous!) during the lunch break, but if you take your bag out, you will have to pay again. Ah, nickel and diming.There is a Starbucks in the Javits Center. One. The line gets long, the prices are jacked up, but it's c…

3 Perfect Days in Porto

We recently returned from a very relaxed 5 day trip to Porto, Portugal. Although flight times were a bit on the odd-hours side, we chose Ryanair - 50% cheaper than any other airline to fly, even with car park and seat reservations! We used the extra savings to rent a car & car seats (I'm quickly becoming a fan of Enterprise. They consistently have the lowest prices, and this time even installed the car seats for us!). For 700 euros, we had flights and a car for a family of 4, not bad.

The car came in handy as we stayed a little outside of town at a gorgeous apartment by the marina. There was plenty of parking and a Lidl within short driving distance - plus the hosts left us a few bites & port, a fun surprise!

You can easily Uber around as well - it's by far the cheapest and fastest method of transport, even compared to driving in and paying for parking. Porto really felt like a great value for excellent food, tourist activities, and parking in town. If we'd had mor…