Fall in Mendoza

Fall in Mendoza
View outside our house

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grocery Shopping in Mendoza Part Two

My apologies for not posting part two earlier.  We have been busy with some renovations in the house and what not.  With no further delay, here goes:

I left off on talking about how choices seem to be scarce here.  Since the last post, that is still true.  But let me take you on a different ride.

There are times when you go to the grocery store to get some of the staples of life;  sugar, butter, milk, etc.  Yet when you get there, the shelves are bare.  Sugar seems to be an issue here.  At least twice we have gone to the store in the last two months and there has been no sugar.  SUGAR!  That is the stuff that we get too many packages of at Starbucks and toss out the unused in the States.

Now why do you ask is sugar such a scavenger-hunt type of item.  I don't know.  Locals say it is because the government is exporting the sugar at a higher price, therefore there is a shortage.  I have also heard that when the sugar does appear back on the shelf, it is not pure sugar.  They say it has been cut with flour.  I don't know about you, but this sounds like drug lords cutting their cocaine with baby powder to make a bigger profit.  I never thought that I would yearn for the days of pure....sugar.

Same story sometimes goes for beef.  BEEF!!  In case you did not know, but Argentina is known for its beef.  Again, locals say the beef is being exported out at a greater profit.  I'm all for capitalism, but when your citizens cannot get a good hunk of beef, maybe we have a problem?

Now one thing I am amazed at, is the bread.  Not only is it great, but freaking cheap.  Let's give an example.  A baguette of bread is the equivalent of $.60 in the states.  Last time I purchased such bread at my local Publix in Florida it was at the cheapest, $2.  Even cheaper are the small rolls that we typically pay between $.30 and $.50 apiece in the states is about $.10 in Argentina.  Why the difference in price...well without getting into a Keynesian economics debate, I believe it is because bread is such a staple of life.  The old saying about having food on the table is a sign of abundance; of wealth.

It does not matter where you go in the world, bread or wheat products are a staple of any civilization.  Yet in the states, if a loaf of bread is rustic - you pay more for it.  Must be a marketing thing:)

Changing the subject back a bit.  I was told by some expats, that when you find a food or food product from back home, to buy it up because you never know when that product may be back on the shelves.  I did not pay much attention to chat warning.  Boy was I wrong.  We had found some Guava paste in one of the major grocery stores a while back and only purchased one container.  Fast forward to the present and not one can of Guava paste to be found in all of Mendoza.  They were right.

Now, I cannot speak for Buenos Aires, the capital of the country.  For what I am told, imported items are much more readily available and at a more reasonable price.  I have not visited the capital, but with an estimated population of 13 million in the province, I am sure this is correct.  As for the prices of U.S branded foods like a can of Campbell's Condensed Soup in Mendoza, it will set you back more than $3 U.S. dollars!  Campbell's!  You know the cream of mushroom concoction that is the staple of all Thanksgiving meals!

Well my friends.  I am freezing my butt off making an Asado - grilling meat outside in freezing weather. Why do you ask?  Because that is what you do on Sunday's in Argentina.  You make an Asado.

Asado...yet another topic for my blog.

Promise to post something else real soon!